Motorcycle ride for one who died
Wendi Oliver got her Harley-Davidson motorcycle in January, but she never had the chance to ride with her 24-year-old son, Jeremy Brown, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on May 25.
“I thought we were going to get to ride together,” Oliver said. “We’ll ride one day together, but no, I never got to ride with him. All I’ve seen are pictures on Facebook of him riding.”
On Saturday, Oliver came the closest she can for now -- she rode her motorcycle on the same road where her son died.
Brown had joined with about 10 other bikers for a ride from the parking lot of Lenoir's Walmart to Laurel Springs, and on N.C. 268 he ran off the road in a curve near the Wilkes County line on his 2006 Honda CVR 1000. He hit a wooden fence alongside the road and died instantly.
Oliver, other family members, friends and about 50 other motorcycle enthusiasts gathered together outside Lenoir's Walmart for a memorial ride to Freeborne's in Laurel Springs, which was Brown's intended destination.
Brown’s dad, Eric Brown, also never had the chance to ride with his son.
“I was actually going to buy one to ride with him, but I didn’t get a chance,” he said, teary-eyed.
On Saturday’s trip, he drove his brother’s truck and pulled a support trailer behind him in case anyone had mechanical trouble.
Eric Brown still could not understand what happened that Sunday when his son died, saying that the curve he was going around was “nothing” compared to others along that route. The N.C. Highway Patrol said at the time that it appeared something had distracted Jeremy Brown because there were no skid marks to indicate he hit his brakes before he left the road.
“At the moment, I don’t have a whole lot of words. I do, but I can’t express them right now,” Brown said.
Jeremy Brown's friends erected a memorial at the spot where he wrecked. A wooden cross sits in the field in front of the broken post Brown hit. Brown’s helmet is screwed to the top, with signatures and messages of love written in Sharpie across the back and sides.
Oliver said that because of what she called an astounding number of supporters and friends who joined Saturday's ride, they decided not to stop at the memorial because it would be unsafe, but they would slow down to pay their respects. Already, the place holds additional sentimental value for two of Brown’s friends.
“One of the guys who was supposed to have (ridden) that day that Jeremy got killed, his name was Joey,” Oliver said. “Jeremy kept on to Joey about proposing to his girlfriend. He said, ‘Man, you need to marry her!’ So after Jeremy got killed, they had gone up there and put a cross where he got killed at. And (Joey) got down on one knee and proposed to her there where Jeremy got killed in remembrance of Jeremy. So, they’re going to get married.”
Oliver, who has ridden motorcycles only since January, said that riding a motorcycle is “freedom.”
“It’s called stress-free,” Oliver said. “Yeah, that’s one thing it is. There’s nothing on your mind when you’re out there riding.”