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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

OPD highlights importance of roadway safety after two motorcycle fatalities occur within two days

After two motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes over the span of two days in Ocala, local police officers are reminding motorists to never drive recklessly and to watch out for motorcycles.

The first fatal crash occurred on Saturday, June 4, shortly after 10 p.m. Ocala Police Department officers responded to the 3300 block of SW College Road due to reports of a collision involving a motorcycle and a Chevrolet Suburban.

Motorcycle rider passenger trauma alerted after crashing into SUV on SW College Road 1
The first fatal crash occurred in the 3300 block of SW College Road on June 4 (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

According to the police department, the motorcycle had two occupants: a male rider and female passenger. The motorcycle was traveling westbound in the center lane.

As the Suburban was leaving the Olive Garden located at 3363 SW College Road, the driver pulled directly into the path of the motorcycle. The front of the motorcycle struck the left rear side of the Suburban at an approximate 45-degree angle.

The motorcycle’s driver and passenger were both ejected, and they were transported to a local hospital. The driver, identified as 26-year-old Thomas Fort, later succumbed to his injuries at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, June 5. The passenger’s injuries were non-life-threatening.

Both Fort and the passenger were wearing their helmets. The occupants of the Suburban were not injured in the accident.

On Monday, June 6, the second fatal crash occurred at around 6:50 a.m. OPD officers responded to the intersection of S Pine Avenue and SW 17th Street due to reports of an accident involving a motorcycle and a dump truck.

Motorcyclist killed after crashing into dump truck on S Pine Avenue
The second fatal crash occurred at the intersection of S Pine Avenue and SW 17th Street on June 6 (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

The dump truck was traveling northbound on S Pine Avenue, near the SW 17th Street intersection. The motorcycle was heading southbound on S Pine Avenue and was approaching the same intersection.

The traffic light turned yellow for the northbound and southbound traffic. The dump truck proceeded into the intersection to make a left turn, and the light turned red while the motorcycle was several hundred feet north of the intersection.

The motorcycle was speeding and ran through the red light. The front of the motorcycle struck the left front corner of the dump truck, and the motorcycle’s rider, identified as 29-year-old Christopher Smith, was ejected.

Smith was not wearing a helmet and succumbed to his injuries at the scene. There were no other injuries reported.

The Ocala Police Department would like to remind motorcyclists to never ride recklessly. Always obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings. In addition, motorcyclists should always ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between their bike and other vehicles.

The police department is also reminding drivers to watch out for motorcycles. Drivers should watch their blind spots closely, double-check their mirrors, and use extra caution when driving near a motorcycle. Judging the speed of an approaching motorcycle can be difficult, so drivers should give motorcyclists extra time to pass by or take extra time to assess their speed.