Channel 19

Todd Dills

No, that’s not a dummy

| February 18, 2008

When John Latta forwarded us photos purporting to depict the aftermath of a motorcycle-truck collision — the motorcyclist dangling from the back of the truck with his head driven through the steel — our first thought was, “That ihas to be a dummy,”> some sort of movie special-effects shot. Alas, no, as Snopes.com. (Warning: Don’t click on the article link if you’re disturbed by the prospect of seeing a human being reduced to a rag doll.)

Police said Brandon Lee White, 26, of Broken Arrow, Okla., was traveling more than 120 mph on U.S. 169 when he hit the back of the truck about 1 a.m. April 17, 2007.

This follow-up article in the iTulsa World is hard to believe: White’s motorcyclist friend Devin Seigal, 21, also of Broken Arrow, was killed on the same highway when he hit the back of a pickup at 100-plus mph ionly five days after White was killed. So much for the deterrent effect — though, to be fair, iother motorcyclists, friends of White and Seigal and strangers, too, might well have slowed down and saved their own lives after the first well-publicized fatality, and more still after the second one.

The forwarded e-mail that John received included this inaccurate “>moral” at the bottom: “He lived. Wear your helmet!” In fact, he did inot live, and while wearing a helmet is excellent advice for all motorcyclists, it’s unlikely to save anyone in this situation. “>Slow down,” in context, would be better advice.

Put yourself in the place of this trucker: feeling some sort of impact, then pulling over and walking around the rig, only to find … This is the stuff of nightmares, of urban legends about unsuspecting drivers with corpses attached to their vehicles.

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Todd Dills

Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at OverdriveOnline.com. His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to tdills@randallreilly.com or via phone at 205-907-2481.

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