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Riders Identified in Multi-Vehicle Motorcycle Crash

Date: September 18, 2009
Location: I-5, milepost 282, south of Wilsonville
Names: Herbert Sinclair, David Bowyer, Juan Ramon Mata, Christian J. Gankema, Gary Pawson

Oregon State Police have identified three more victims in a multi-vehicle motorcycle crash. Previously identified were two riders who were critically injured, Herbert Sinclair, 48, of Heyburn, Idaho, and David Bowyer, 44, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The three previously unidentified motorcyclists are Juan Ramon Mata, 60, Christian J. Gankema, 40, and Gary Pawson, 38, all from Idaho.

As of September 19, the two most seriously injured were still hospitalized. Sinclair is listed in good condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Bowyer is listed in serious condition at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Both had been in critical condition immediately following the crash.

According to Salem-News.com, 10 riders from Brother Speed Motorcycle Club were injured in the accident, which occurred Friday, September 18, south of Wilsonville on I-5. At approximately 2:45 PM, as the motorcycle riders drove north in the left inside lane, traffic in front of them stopped. KVAL.com reports that a witness observed the bikers riding behind an SUV, which suddenly applied its brakes, causing what the witness termed a “domino effect.” Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said at least two SUVs were involved in the crash.

State police Lieutenant Gregg Hastings described the incident: “The first two motorcycles maneuvered to avoid a collision with the stopped vehicle, but the rest of the motorcycles could not react in time and crashed into the vehicle in front of their group and into each other.”

Eight of the injured motorcyclists were transported to hospitals by ground ambulance with shoulder and hip injuries and broken bones, while two others were shuttled to Portland hospitals by Life Flight. Northbound lanes on the interstate were closed for about two hours, but all lanes were open by approximately 5:40 PM.

Brother Speed Motorcycle Club’s website says the Portland chapter was chartered in 1970, to promote “brotherhood, respect, riding fast and building Choppers.” The group is known for more than fast riding; they participate in charity work, including the annual Shriner’s Toy Run. The club has three chapters in Oregon.

Tragedy is not new for the “Black and Gold,” but an accident of this magnitude is beyond anything they’ve experienced. “I’ve never seen [this] before,” said one shocked club insider, who added that, contrary to public perception, these are careful, “cautious” riders. Although there are disputes as to the accuracy of how many accidents involve motorcyclists, and for that matter how many are caused by them, riders often take special courses to not only ride safer themselves, but to watch out for other motorists on the road.

One thing is certain: this is a terrible tragedy. At this point, a lack of specifics prevents any judgment on exactly what happened or who may have been involved.

As Portland injury attorneys who want to help out in this difficult situation, but without being ambulance chasers, we are offering complimentary copies of our book to all parties injured in this incident. This book, 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Accident Case, will help in their dealings with the legal side of things, without having to get a lawyer involved unnecessarily. We hope this book will assist the riders involved as they recover from this horrible accident.