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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Family sues for $14.5M in fatality on Dragon

Family sues for $14.5M in fatality on ‘Dragon’

By Wes Wade | ([email protected])

The family of a motorcyclist killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on “The Dragon” in August has filed a $14.5 million lawsuit in Blount County Circuit Court.

The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of several family members of 45-year-old Christiana resident Dwight Ross Woodard, who died the morning of Aug. 3 after a collision with a tractor-trailer driven by Bobby Frank Coleman, 47, of Nashville, Ga.

Coleman is named as a defendant in the suit along with his employer, the Blackshear, Ga.-based Thom’s Transport Company Inc.

The complaint alleges that Coleman violated several state statutes as his truck crossed into Woodard’s lane of travel, blocking both lanes of U.S. Highway 129 in a curve near Mile Marker 5. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Woodard was traveling southbound on his Triumph Triple Speed motorcycle when he struck the left side of the trailer as it crossed over into his lane.

Criminal charges have not been filed in the crash.

According to the complaint, Woodard remained conscious and alert until an ambulance arrived nearly an hour after the wreck, but died about 30 minutes later on his way to the hospital.

Those listed as plaintiffs in the suit include Woodard’s two daughters, ages 14 and 8, and Woodard’s mother, Patricia Thompson. They seek compensation for damages to include wrongful death, medical and funeral expenses and lost future earnings. A jury was requested to try the case.

Thom’s Transport Company Inc. declined to comment.

TDOT opposes ban

Several Nashville riders, including members of Woodard’s family, mounted a campaign shortly after the crash to persuade legislators to ban tractor-trailers longer than 30 feet from using the Dragon, an 11.1-mile stretch of U.S. 129 from Tabcat Creek to the North Carolina state line at Deals Gap.

But in a letter to U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. dated Oct. 19, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John C. Schroer said it was the department’s decision not to implement a ban on tractor-trailers from using the highway.

“It is our position that the economic impact of restricting tractor-trailers along this federally designated U.S. route would severely impact commerce, as there is no reasonable alternative route for commercial traffic in this vicinity,” Schroer wrote.

The commissioner added that TDOT provides enhanced safety advisories in regards to potentially dangerous roadways and that it is the responsibility of motorists to exercise a greater amount of caution when traveling winding mountain roads.

“We recognize that this was a tragic event,” Schroer continued. “However, we do not feel we can give priority to one group of motorists over another by restricting certain types of vehicles from U.S. 129.”

The letter also noted that TDOT, in conjunction with the motorcycle industry, had conducted a series of studies on the Dragon in 2008 to identify the root cause of severe crashes and to then implement safety improvements. In researching fatal crashes, the department said that during the last three years only one crash involved a collision between a motorcycle and tractor-trailer.

According to Schroer’s statement, the study found that speed in relation to negotiating curves on the Dragon was the major underlying issue related to severe crashes and fatalities. TDOT has since implemented a series of improvements along the corridor, including posting new signage and markings, paving pull-off areas and installing enhanced signage discouraging truck traffic from using the highway, the letter states.

TDOT records indicate that 17 motorcycle fatalities have occurred on the Dragon during the past six years.


-Chris
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 06:33 PM
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so he rear ended the truck?

failure to yield muffaka
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 06:39 PM
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so he rear ended the truck?

failure to yield muffaka
where did u read that?

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I agree completely with Steve (nouseforaname)
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 07:26 PM
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where did u read that?

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Originally Posted by project15 View Post

Not sure if thats the correct pic tho

Looking at it again tho it could have been run over after dragging.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FiReBReTHa View Post
Not sure if thats the correct pic tho

Looking at it again tho it could have been run over after dragging.
id think if a bike rear ended a trailer the driver woulndt notice instantly if at all.

second you would think he would end up on the other side off the road (near the cab of the truck) if indeed he couldnt stop in time.

imo he was coming the other way probably blind turn...maybe not even speeding.... truck is blocking both lanes. my guess is he went under the trailer and bike got run over...truck then stopped.

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I agree completely with Steve (nouseforaname)
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 07:37 PM
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anyway its tragic. vids u see of these tractor trailers on roads like this is scary.

rip to the rider.

"Why are all these people here? There are too many people on this earth. We need a new plague…"

"Thats it, nobody gets out of here alive."

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I agree completely with Steve (nouseforaname)
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiReBReTHa View Post
so he rear ended the truck?

failure to yield muffaka
Quote:
Originally Posted by project15 View Post
[B]
The complaint alleges that Coleman violated several state statutes as his truck crossed into Woodard’s lane of travel, blocking both lanes of U.S. Highway 129 in a curve near Mile Marker 5. According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Woodard was traveling southbound on his Triumph Triple Speed motorcycle when he struck the left side of the trailer as it crossed over into his lane.
try reading next time
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 08:00 PM
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try reading next time
Not worth the time. There was a pic to summarize.


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-11-2011, 08:02 PM
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oh i just noticed this was posted in the children's forum..

whoops

"Why are all these people here? There are too many people on this earth. We need a new plague…"

"Thats it, nobody gets out of here alive."

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I agree completely with Steve (nouseforaname)
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:17 AM
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Not worth the time. There was a pic to summarize.

ignorance is bliss, huh?
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:35 AM
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Isn't crossing a double yellow a moving violation?
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:42 AM
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How else is he going to get his rig through there?

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:52 AM
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Very sad , I hope this doesn't turn into a problem for motorcycles .
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:54 AM
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It seems like it's a catch 22. Those trucks are legally running the route, and the route causes the trucks to take up both lanes on just about all the turns. Sucks every way you look at it.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:55 AM
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How else is he going to get his rig through there?
This is true, but isn't the law black and white? Its either you crossed or you didn't, no?

In knowing this, shouldnt' truckers take an alternate route anyway? there are many other areas where rigs physcially can't pass, and they avoid going to those areas, shouldn't route 129 also be an area they avoid?

If that's not the case, maybe have an escort with warning lights and stuff?
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 10:15 AM
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I am sure there is a way to avoid 129 for a truck of that size . My guess is that its a time issue.
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 10:22 AM
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There are a lot of signs discouraging them from taking that route. But, they still do because they can and often they really need to. Depending on where exactly they need to go, they would have to go pretty far out of their way to avoid it.

Once when I was there, I got stuck behind a lady in an SUV. I wasn't in a hurry, been there many times already, blah, blah, blah. I just hung back behind her and sure enough, here comes a truck. Downhill and going left. She had to stop, put it in reverse and backup or I guarantee she would have been hit. The truck was not going to stop. He was rolling downhill, around the corner and he had the whole road. I stopped behind her and watched to see what would happen. Glad I had been following intentionaly at a distance because she needed the room to get out of the way.

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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 11:05 AM
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I am sure there is a way to avoid 129 for a truck of that size . My guess is that its a time issue.
It is also a scale issue, avoidance...

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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 11:22 AM
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You can't see through more than half the turns and switch backs on that road. The dude on the bike was going too fast. It sucks, it really does but it could have been avoided. We have all gone too fast down that road. It's dangerous as fuck. No run off, cliffs, blind corners and throw a tractor trailer, cars, hillbillies and 500 motorcycle riders into the mix and it's either a hospital visit or a funeral waiting to happen. Don't kid yourselves.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 11:29 AM
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If you go the posted 30mph speed limit on the road the chances of dieing are quit slim.
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post #21 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
If you go the posted 30mph speed limit on the road the chances of dieing are quit slim.
If only they had these twisty sections of road.......with no cars. That you could ride however fast you wanted to, and use the entire road for the turn. Maybe we could have it be 1 direction so there was no chance of a head on......... then position an ambulance at the ready with people to throw caution signals out when there's a problem.


Its a tragic accident. The truck driver should not take a road where he knows that he will be intentionally crossing the yellow line. If thats the case, then as someone else said, he needs an escort. The rider was probably going to fast (although they don't mention speed), which is another factor in the crash.

But even at the speed limit...... with a blind corner, the trucker is MORE at fault than the rider. That's how it will probably play out in court.
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post #22 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 03:33 PM
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If only they had these twisty sections of road.......with no cars. That you could ride however fast you wanted to, and use the entire road for the turn.
There is a term for that. It's called a racetrack. Sorry, had to do that. Couldn't resist.

In defense of the trucker, He may have not known the area or the road. This happens all the time when relying on GPS for a route. If it is a legal route the unit will guide you right into trucker hell.

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post #23 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 03:38 PM
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If it is a legal route the unit will guide you right into trucker hell.
and once you get past the river area, there is nowhere to turn around.

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Last edited by jrock; 12-12-2011 at 04:14 PM.
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post #24 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 03:53 PM
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AND, there ain't no backing out of them turns.

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post #25 of 25 (permalink) Old 01-04-2012, 12:33 PM
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I happened to stumble upon this thread while searching for more info about about this accident and read some of the stupid assumptions that were being made about the incident and though I would register real quick and give you the full story.

Ike was a very safe rider, and was about start instructing riding safety classes before his unfortunate accident. He wasn't that guy you see treating public roads like a race track. At the time of the accident he was not speeding. He entered a turn around the 5 mile marker going south bound. Little did he know that a tractor trailer was making it's way through the turn and had effectively blocked the entire road, from white line to white line. He attempted to stop, but a collision was unavoidable. His Speed Triple hit the truck around the 4th axles. He ended up between the 4th and 5th axle and was drug approximately 15-20 feet and then run over by the 5th axle before the truck stopped. He was conscious and responsive at the scene for the nearly 45 minute that it takes an ambulance to get to that remote area, but died in the ambulance about 30 minutes after being taken from the scene of the accident. The impact was not terrible, it was being run over by the rear wheels of the truck that caused Ike to sustain life threatening injuries. Look at his bike in the picture. Notice that it looks no worse than a bike that was laid down.

The truck not only crossed the double yellow, it crossed the white line in the opposing lane of traffic. A person on foot could not have found a way around that truck at the moment that Ike entered the turn. The truck was also on that road illegally. North Carolina banned through traffic of trailers over 30' feet going back to at least February 2010. This accident happened on August 3rd of 2011 almost a year and a half later. There is no way for a north bound tractor trailer to get to mile marker 5 on US 129 in Tennessee with out traveling through that portion of US 129 in North Carolina. There are signs warning of the road conditions and a place to turn around in NC just before the dam where the restricted zone begins. In the drivers defense there are no signs saying that it's illegal for him to pass through there, only that it's a bad idea. But according to NCDOT many truck restrictions are not posted and that it is the trucker, trucking dispatcher, and trucking companies responsibility to look up this information about their routes before traveling them. NCDOT is working on getting signage posted on their road and they are also trying to get TDOT to reciprocate by posting signage on their side warning of the NC restriction.

2010 was a very rough year for the Nashville riding community. We lost a rider every single week from April through August and two in a single week in July when an on-duty motorcycle cop and someone visiting the area died a day apart in separate motorcycle accidents. Four of them were not motorcycle accident related, and three were out of town riders who died in accidents in the area. The rest were all local riders lost in while riding. Some because of their own carelessness, most were just unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just about the time that the issue of rider death was reaching a fevered pitch, one of the most highly respected, widely loved, and safety conscious members of the Nashville riding community died while doing what he loved. Ike left behind two daughters age 8 and 14. They will have to experience most of the biggest moments of their lives without a father to share them with. Hopefully they will win at least some of the money they are seeking so they don't have to do without the financial support Ike would have provided.

If any of you are ever in the area hit up the Nashville Area Riders Facebook group. We have a lot so great back roads here in middle TN, freestyle riders who kill the lots on a regular basis, and more cruisers than you can shake a stick at.

(I had to strip out all of the links to outside sources of information because of the 15 post limitation. Guess you'll have to look up everything yourselves.)
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