There were a couple of small headlines over the weekend that illuminate the lines between bikers and mainstream America and between reality and TV.
One of the headlines described an unfortunate incident in Belmont, California which is south of San Francisco and the other sat over a story datelined Rexburg, Idaho which is north of Idaho Falls near Yellowstone National Park. The fact that there were headlines at all says something about the world’s simultaneous love and hate for motorcycle outlaws.
Belmont Video Opportunity
Shortly after 8 a.m. last Sunday the 19-year-old driver of a Prius (yes, of course it was a Prius) caught up to a pack of about 20 motorcycles ridden by members of the Original Kings Motorcycle Club and club friends. Both the pack and the Prius were travelling north on the 101 Freeway. Excited to witness real bikers riding in a real pack the still unidentified teenager (who cannot be drafted to fight in Afghanistan but who can vote for President anyway) used his smart phone to video record and document this highlight of his life. Presumably, his friends wouldn’t believe something this cool had actually happened to him if he just told them about the bikers.
When traffic slowed the aspiring videographer swerved left, struck one of the bikes in the pack, hit the center divider, bounced off, struck a second motorcycle and caused two more bikes to crash before he finally stopped in the center lane.
Concerned for his safety, uninjured members of the pack ran to his assistance. Reportedly, some of his rescuers established that he was conscious and had not suffered a traumatic head injury by gently shaking and slapping him. Another rider looked into the teenager’s eyes and asked him to identify common household objects including a knife.
By the time police arrived many of the riders had left the scene. The teenager told California Highway Patrol Officers that he could not identify any of his would-be rescuers and he was cited for distracted driving. One 43-year-old biker was hospitalized with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Two more were treated for abrasions. A fourth biker suffered a broken leg and was evacuated by chase truck. None of the bikers was cited or charged. Police said they were withholding the teenage driver’s name out of “concerns for his safety.” His safety.
Rexburg Child’s Wish
Eighteen hours before that about 400 bikers gathered Saturday afternoon at Rexburg Motor Sports to grant 7-year-old Wesley Johnson’s dying wish to “belong to a biker gang.” The little boy suffers from a particularly nasty kind of brain cancer.
Well wishers included members of the Brother Speed Motorcycle Club’s Idaho Falls Chapter and the Pocatello chapter of the Empties Motorcycle Club. As the big pack of riders was about to depart five unidentified members of the Brother Speed allegedly assaulted two members of the Empties. An unidentified, 57-year-old member of the Empties suffered facial fractures and other injuries. His 50-year-old club brother fired a warning shot into the ground from a 9mm pistol.
As of Tuesday morning Rexburg police had still not released any names. There have been no arrests.
Participants contributed $6,000 to help defray Wesley Johnson’s medical expenses.