By Jack King
Two motorcyclists died early Sunday after they collided with a tow truck hauling an 18-wheeler near the intersection of Norris Street and Mabry Drive.
Timothy Lasiter, 33, of Clovis, died at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock, according to his wife, Shellie Lasiter.
Johnnie Vankleeck, 44, of Lovington, died at the scene, police said.
Officers responded to the accident at 1:17 a.m., according to a press release from Clovis police.
According to the release:
Lasiter and Vankleeck were traveling north on Norris Street on their motorcycles at a high rate of speed. They activated their rear brakes, but ran into a Transmatic Wrecker tow truck driven by Kenneth Workheiser, which was pulling a “commercial motor vehicle.” The wrecker was making a left turn.
“Alcohol is suspected as a factor in both Lasiter and Vankleeck,” the release said.
Paul Brown of the Lovington area said he was a third motorcyclist riding behind Lasiter and Vankleeck and observed the accident. Brown said the tow truck was in the far right-hand lane and turned left across the left-hand lane as Lasiter and Vankleeck attempted to pass the truck.
“It did not move into the left-hand lane to make the turn. It blocked both on-coming lanes. When it came to a stop the tractor-trailer (that the tow truck was hauling) was still in the right-hand lane,” Brown said.
Brown said he, Lasiter and Vankleeck had been drinking, but that alcohol did not cause the crash. He said Lasiter and Vankleeck were about even with the tractor-trailer rig being hauled when the tow truck made its turn.
“I told the police we had been drinking. I took a sobriety test at the scene and passed,” Brown said.
Workheiser did not return a call requesting comment Sunday night.
Brown said the men had been to a meeting of the “Brotherhood of 74” motorcycle club. They left that meeting, went to the City Limits bar, then back to the group’s clubhouse, he said.
Shellie Lasiter said Vankleeck had brought Brown to Clovis to present him for admission into the “Brotherhood of 74.” The three men were heading to the Lasiters’ home at the time of the accident, she said.
Timothy Lasiter grew up in Texico and graduated from Texico High School in 1988. He worked for New Mexico Water Company in Clovis, his brother Chad said Sunday.
Timothy Lasiter was taken from the scene to Plains Regional Medical Center with severe head trauma. He was then taken by an aircraft to the hospital in Lubbock, police said.
Shellie Lasiter said doctors at Covenant Hospital performed medical tests that determined her husband could not survive the injury. He was taken off of life support, then pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, she said.