Friends of an Alabama motorcyclist and veteran say he sacrificed his life in a benefit ride when he drove into oncoming traffic to skip to the front of the pack.
On April 23, a Wetumpka motorcycle club, called The Predators, was taking part in a weekend ride for charity when tragedy struck on the other side of Highway 14.
Keith Warren, a member of the group, says The Predators were assisting in a bike ride for a fallen veteran with the American Legion’s Millbrook post, reports WSFA. Carroll Cauthen volunteered to help block traffic by being a road guard so the group could drive together on the highway.
“Him, myself and two others volunteered to protect over 50 bikes on a ride that went from Millbrook to Kowaliga and this is the first time in years that we've actually had an accident,” Warren said.
Since the family of a former leader from Millbrook’s American Legion post wanted to disperse his ashes at Lake Martin and on U.S. 231, the motorcycle group helped with the charity ride. As the bikers made their way from Coosa River Parkway and turned right to stay on Highway 14 West headed back to Millbrook, Cauthen waited until the last bike was through the juncture and then tried to move to the front of the pack to catch the next intersection.
Cauthen realized he was stuck between the riders and approaching traffic. Cauthen’s friends watched in horror as he was run over. They contend that Cauthen made the decision in order to prevent others from getting hurt.
Warren explained how the accident unfolded, saying:
Because of traffic flow, he wasn't able to get back into the pack and he was left with oncoming traffic. This was not a head-on collision. He laid his bike down and unfortunately lost his life. He sacrificed himself. He had nowhere to go. He had two choices- to either lay his bike down and take a hit or plow into the other riders which could have cost a lot more lives. What this man did was a selfless act and it has affected so many lives.
The club emphasized that when motorcycle riders are traveling in packs on the road, they're often helping with charity.
"Everybody just be safe," Warren said. "There was nothing reckless about this whole ride... It's sad it happened. We lost a very dear friend."