Red memorial cross to honor fallen motorcyclist - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Red memorial cross to honor fallen motorcyclist

One year ago Sunday, Chip Roper, 29 was killed in Jacksonville.  Roper was riding his motorcycle when a car, without it's lights on, pulled out in front of him.  Roper's family says the driver said he quote "didn't see him".  Saturday, bikers from across East Texas gathered for a special ride through town to remember Roper.

They rode through town stopping on the North side of Jacksonville at the place where it all started.  Roper's bike made it through the accident, but he didn't.  It was one year ago, a day Roper's mother Kathi will never forget.

"A car ran a stop sign in front of him, and he couldn't miss the car," said Kathi Ploof.  "We had had dinner with him two hours before, four days after his birthday."  The driver of the car said he didn't see Roper and fellow riders say that is often the case.

"I just kinda felt compelled to do this for him," said family friend and rider David Barber.  Barber contacted the American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, or ABATE program.  He organized the memorial service where they placed a red cross at the crash site.

"This is just to try to drive home the message," said Barber.  "Here is the spot where another biker was killed by somebody not paying attention."  After a reading and a short prayer, many of his family and friends sprinkled dirt on the cross. 

"We hope to make a difference," said Ploof.  They say it's for all drivers on the road, we're out here, please pay attention. 

"Look, look and then look again," said Ploof.  "Don't take it for granted.  Look for motorcycles. We've got to stop this.  I don't want someone else's momma's heart to be broke."

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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