East Texas Motorcyclists Have Strong Message To Drivers In Wake Of Fatal Accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/22/08-Tyler

East Texas Motorcyclists Have Strong Message To Drivers In Wake Of Fatal Accident

He was enjoying a beautiful East Texas day, riding his motorcycle, but his life, like so many others, was cut short in a matter of seconds.  Sammy Rocco, 51 of Lindale, was killed last Saturday, when a truck turned in front of him along Troup Highway. 

At his funeral Saturday, there was an outpouring of support from fellow riders, many who didn't even know Rocco, but just as his service began, a separate accident nearly took the life of another motorcyclist.  Sadly, that rider was also on his way to Rocco's funeral.

Riders say they have a serious warning to drivers to pay attention.  They want to step up awareness before another life, like Sam Rocco, is taken.

"One second you're riding having fun, the next second you're in a world of trouble," said rider Ronny Moncrief.  They come from different riding groups and different walks of life, but a tragic accident, claiming the life of Sammy Rocco, brought them together.

"Anytime a rider goes down it affects all of us," said Ride Captain with The Steel Riders, Tim Young.

"It's kind of a family thing," said East Texas Deputy State Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders, Doug Smith.  "It's kind of that brotherhood of those of us who do ride motorcycles."

"Hopefully when the family sees the bikes and the riders out here, maybe it offers them some kind of support and condolence," said Young.  We're told Rocco had no enemies.  He was dedicated to his family and friends, and of course loved to ride.

"He was always the friendliest, the nicest person, the one that was always the most willing to help out, whether it was at work, at church, riding motorcycle," said Smith.  Loved ones say they know Rocco is now at peace, in his heavenly-home.

"From the time you first met him you knew the kind of person he was," said Smith.  "The Christian background, the involvement in his church.  There was just no doubt where his heart was."  Still, his accident, and another one Saturday morning is bringing attention to a serious problem on the roadways.

"They're talking on their cell phones, or trying to decide where they're going, or where they've been," said Moncrief.  "They don't keep their mind on the road and it's just dangerous for the motorcycle riders."

"We all live very busy lives, but just taking a couple extra seconds to look and make sure the lane's clear and intersection's clear, or anything else can save a lot of tragedies," said Young. 

"It's real bad," said Moncrief. "There are people that'll pull out in front of you in a heartbeat."

Saturday's accident happened around 9:00 a.m., at the intersection of Highway 31 West and Loop 323 in Tyler.  Police said a driver ran a stop light and crashed into a motorcycle and two other cars. The rider was identified as Floyd Ward, 63 of Bruceville, Texas.  He's listed in critical condition at ETMC.  KLTV has also learned Ward was on his way to Rocco's funeral, to pay respect, when he was hit.  Ward is also a close friend to many in the motorcycle community. 

Riders say these recent accidents show a need for increased awareness of motorcycles on the roadways. With the beautiful Spring weather, many riders are out.  They say we need to share the roadways and be alert, so everyone can travel safely.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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