Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Remembering a fallen friend
2001 was a rough year for the Odessa sportbike crew. There were lots of tickets written and other headaches from the cops, squids were crashing all over the place, and it seemed like everybody had some kind of story to tell. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we almost lost a group member, Crazy Dave Alders, early that summer when he and his bright orange Slingshot got creamed one morning by a truck, resulting in major injuries. Then, just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, friend and fellow OSB rider Bobby Miller died.
I got the call from Rodger Gertson, who left the terrible news on my home answering machine. Bobby had been killed the night before on a group ride returning from Lubbock, Rodger explained, and details were still sketchy. I was frightened and shocked beyond belief at the news. I had planned on attending that very ride with Bobby and the rest of the group, but had changed my mind at the last minute for reasons I have since forgotten. But as details of the story began to emerge, my fright turned to simple anger and frustration at what Bobby had done.
By all reliable accounts, Bobby and several other riders had been radared by an oncoming DPS trooper, and Bobby bolted. This was his fatal mistake. On an unfamiliar highway, in the middle of the night, and at speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour, Bobby went off the road and into a field. His bike disintegrated in the process, and by the time his poor, mangled body finally came to rest, there was very little life left in him. A Helivac was called, but the paramedics could not stabilize Bobby for transport, and he died at the scene.
In an instant, one very bad decision to run from the cops had not only robbed Bobby of his life, but it had also robbed a daughter of her father, and a wonderful wife of her husband. It also robbed the rest of us, too -- of an unforgettable friend and riding partner that we’ll never be able to replace.
As motorcyclists, we owe Bobby the honor of not only remembering him, but also of learning from his death. All you young guys out there who’ve maybe only been riding for a year or two should keep the story of Bobby Miller in mind any time you start thinking that running from the cops is the thing to do. No ticket or trip to the pokey is worth dying over. Sure, most highway speed law is crooked, along with the officers who enforce it, but don’t let them take your life on top of your liberty. Running is never worth the risk, and by accepting that fact, we can gleen something meaningful from the otherwise senseless loss of Bobby Miller.
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