Motorcyclist still hospitalized from crash; other driver arrested

Motorcyclist still hospitalized from crash; other driver arrested

MANSFIELD — A Mansfield motorcyclist remains hospitalized with severe injuries he sustained when a pickup truck pulling a trailer ran over him last week. Meantime, the driver of the truck who allegedly hit him is in the Piatt County jail in Monticello waiting for his first court appearance.

Piatt County Chief Deputy Mark Huckstep said the accident happened on May 8 about 1:15 p.m. in front of a home in the 2700 block of Piatt County Road 1500 E, which is east of Mansfield and just west of the line dividing Piatt and Champaign counties.

Huckstep said Paul Reynolds, 46, of rural Mansfield, was driving his motorcycle south on County Road 1500 E while a pickup truck pulling a landscaping trailer driven by Wesley E. Luster, 19, of the 100 block of Avondale Avenue, Champaign, was driving north on that road.

Huckstep said Luster apparently made a left turn into a residence in front of Reynolds. Seeing that he was about to collide with the pickup, Reynolds laid his bike down and skidded, hitting the side of Luster's truck.

Reynolds told Huckstep he was then run over by Luster's pickup and trailer. Reynolds said the driver did not stop, continued on to the property of the residence, circled around and left, running over him a second time with the trailer as he left.

Reynolds reported to Huckstep that he lay on the ground about 10 minutes before anyone stopped to help him.

There were no witnesses to the accident but Huckstep said Reynolds was able to give him a good description of the truck and landscaping trailer, including writing that was on the trailer.

Huckstep said he learned from the property owner that Luster was supposed to have mowed the lawn that day. Huckstep went to Luster's Champaign home later that evening and talked to him.

Luster initially denied any involvement in the accident, Huckstep said, but after Huckstep told him that the wording on the trailer matched words that Reynolds was able to supply, Luster admitted that he had "freaked out" and did not want to go to jail.

Huckstep said he arrested Luster on preliminary charges of leaving the scene of an injury accident, a Class A misdemeanor, and ticketed him for driving without insurance and making an improper left turn.

Luster is being held in the Piatt County jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on June 11.

Huckstep said he talked to Reynolds at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana Monday night and learned he is improving. Huckstep said Reynolds' injuries included broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken shoulder, and the need for a hip replacement. He was listed in good condition Tuesday morning.

"He was wearing a helmet. I think it saved his life," said Huckstep. "That night he went to the ER ... he was able to give me one of the best statements I ever remember getting."

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rsp wrote on May 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

Laying his bike down saved his life. That takes an experienced rider. 

JHamilton wrote on May 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

This article is not only bad journalism, it is dangerous. 

First the statement by Officer Huckstep "He was wearing a helmet.  I think it saved his life."; is misleading at best.  The rider in this accident suffered numerous internal injuries and broken bones.  As a law enforcement officer, Officer Huckstep has a responsibility to public safety.  While as an individual he may believe in the use of motorcycle helmets; there is no basis for that statement here.  His position as a law enforcement officer adds credibility where it is not deserved with the general public.  The article does not indicate if he has been trained by the Illinois State Police as a crash site investigator.

"Seeing that he was about to collide with the pickup, Reynolds laid his bike down and skidded, hitting the side of Luster's truck."  Including this information in the article without additional iformation is irresponsible and dangerous.  Although many people believe in the old adage, "I had to lay it down"; any motorcyclist that has received even the most basic of rider training knows that there is no emergency braking situation where laying down your motorcycle is advised.  The laws of physics are at play here.  The tires on the motorcycle have the greatest braking ability.  When a motorcyle lays down and its metal parts are sliding on the pavement friction is reduced and the travel distance until stopped is increased.  It is always best to apply your brakes to their fullest capacity.  It is possible that this motorcyclist might have avoid a collision or had less severe injuries if emergency braking techniques were used.  Without complete data from the accident site we will never know.

ABATE of Illinois is working with the Illinois Department of Transportation to gather information on all motorcycle accidents.  The fact is this motorcyclist was driven over twice by this motorist.  That is what caused his injuries.  A helmet is designed to withstand a 16 mph collision.  If the head had been driven over directly it is likely there would have been head injuries; possibly even fatal. 

Education and prevention is the best protector of motorcyclist on the road.  Motorist need to be aware motorcyslist and not distracted.  Motorcyclist need to be aware and anticipate that motorist do not see them.  Education and training in motorcycle safety also greatly reduces motorcycle accidents and injuries to motorcyclist.

It is unfortunate that misleading articles such as this too frequently end up in print.

rsp wrote on May 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I was going an the assumtion that laying the bike down in this case may have prevented him from hitting the side of the trailer at almost full speed. The amount of info he was able to recall suggests he really had his wits about him. That made me think he had to have done it before. My brother was a member of ABATE. He never trusted helmets.

JHamilton wrote on May 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

You can never say "never".  But, there is almost never a situation where laying the bike down is adviseable.  Just don't have enough information to make an informed comment on this particular accident.  Going back to physics, laying the bike down you still remain at "full" speed; you and the bike.  The bike slidding scrubs off speed.  Your body sliding on the pavement scrubs off speed.  Still not as much speed as is scrubbed off by braking in almost all situations. 

Helmets are a personal choice.  Its not that helmets can't be trusted.  I don't trust the data and the studies at times.  ABATE is not anti helmet.  ABATE is against mandatory laws.  We want riders to have a choice.  Educate themselves and then make that decision.

Ldboller wrote on May 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm

In my humble opinion, this is not a forum for your ABATE agenda.  A man nearly lost his life by a 19 year old driving a truck with trailer.  He ran over him twice.  

If he and Officer Huckstep believe the helmet saved his life then let them cling to that.  It certainly wasn't the 19 year old, that ran him over twice, left the scene of the accident and tried to lie about it, who saved his life.  After he ran over him once he turned around and ran over him a second time.  

 Paul is lucky to be a live and considering he was wearing a helmet and was able to verbally give a description of the truck and yell for help I think it's good to hear his head was protected.   Maybe since Officer Huckstep was on the scene of the accident he could make an informed statement  that the helmet protecting his head allowed Paul to see with his eyes on his head and speak with the mouth on his head.  He laid there for 10 minutes yelling for help.  Could it be possible that his injuries were life threatening, that had he not been able to yell for help he could have died?  Therefore the helmet helped save his life? 

Although I believe in the ABATE agenda this is the wrong forum to stand on your soap box.  Your education in a comment in response to this article is heartless and rude.