Aunt Emily

Emily Bowyer Hammel was my father's older sister. She was the dearest person I've ever known. Over several adolescent summers, she patiently taught me how to sew and how to cook. I loved her. Sadly, she has been gone these few years and I miss her very much. However, I am carrying on her legacy of sewing and trying to carry on her legacy of caring.

Friday, October 2

Very Sad News

My cousin, David Bowyer, was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Oregon on the 18th. He is severely brain damaged and the family has been advised that there is no chance of recovery. A few thoughts and prayers for him and his mum and sister would be appreciated.

He goes by "DETROIT DAVE" in the biker community.

This is coverage of the accident:

Brother Speed Pack Crash

Sat, Sep 19, 2009

Brother Speed Pack Crash

Twenty-six members and associates of the Brother Speed Motorcycle Club were involved in a chain-collision motorcycle accident on Interstate 5 north of Portland, Oregon about 2 pm Friday afternoon. The crash happened at milepost 282 south of Wilsonville, Oregon.

A tight pack of 28 bikes was riding in the middle of three north bound lanes at about 70 miles an hour when two sport utility vehicles driving side by side panic braked in front of the pack for an unknown reason. Traffic was light, the road was dry, the sky was blue and visibility was good. The road captain and the leader of the pack, the lead two bikes, counter-steered around the SUVs.

The other 26 motorcycles did not stand a chance. An eyewitness described what happened next as “a pile of motorcycles.”


Brother Speed is a three piece patch club with ten chapters in Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana. Everyone in the pack was from Idaho. They had come to Oregon to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the club.

Ten bikers were injured seriously enough to require medical treatment.

Herbert Sinclair, 48, of Heyburn, Idaho, and David Bowyer, 44, of Coeur d’Alene were helicoptered to separate Portland area hospitals. Sinclair is in Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital and Bowyer is in Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Both men are listed in critical condition.

Juan Ramon Mata, 60, Christian J. Gankema, 40, and Gary Pawson, 38 were also hurt in the crash. They were transported from the scene by ambulance.


Police have not yet named the other injured motorcyclists or identified the drivers of the sport utility vehicles.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Deputy John Naccarato described the scene as “a melee.” Five ambulances, ten fire engines and five police cruisers responded. The northbound lanes of the freeway were closed for four hours.

2 dozen motorcycles crash on I-5 in Oregon

2 dozen motorcycles crash on I-5 in Oregon

Video still from Jet Ranger 2 over Interstate 5, south of Wilsonville.

By Meghan Kalkstein KATU News and Staff

WILSONVILLE, Ore. – An accident involving almost 30 motorcycles just south of Wilsonville on Interstate 5 Friday afternoon injured several people, two critically.

The crash happened at about 3 p.m. near milepost 282. LifeFlight airlifted Herbert Sinclair of Heyburn, Idaho and David Bowyer of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to Oregon Health Sciences University and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, respectively. Both were motorcyclists.

Representatives of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue said that it treated eight patients for shoulder and hip injuries and broken bones. They were also taken to area hospitals.

The accident closed northbound lanes of Interstate 5 for over two hours.

The motorcyclists were part of a local motorcycle club called Brothers Speed which was established in May 1969, according to its Web site. It has chapters in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, specifically in Portland, Ore. Camas, Wash., and Boise, Idaho.

Oregon State Police said the motorcyclists were riding in standard formation – two columns – when traffic ahead slowed suddenly. The two lead motorcyclists were able to avoid a collision by maneuvering clear of the stopped traffic, but the rest of the motorcyclists could not stop in time, causing a chain-reaction of crashes with the rest of the group.

A witness to the crash, Terry Scott, said he and his girlfriend were driving northbound from Salem behind the motorcycles when he witnessed an SUV, that was driving in front of the group of motorcycles, suddenly slow down or slam on its brakes.

“It was a domino effect,” Scott said. “There were bikes and people and gear flying.”

When Capt. Mike Towner of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene with his crew from Wilsonville he said "it was ordered mayhem. There were almost two dozen motorcycles scattered across the freeway, and firefighters from Aurora and Canby providing medical care to injured bikers, as non-injured bikers tried to assist."

TVF&R said there were at least two SUVs that were also involved in the crash.

A club insider, who didn’t want to be identified, said the bikers were in town from all over the Northwest to celebrate an annual birthday celebration of the club. She said that a motorcycle accident like the one that happened Friday is unheard of.

“Normally it’s one motorcycle, maybe two,” she said. “To see the scale of 20 to 30 bikes that are riding together have an accident of that magnitude – I’ve never seen before.”

She said she grew up around these bikers and said despite perceptions, they’re cautious.

“I know some people say they must be up to no good: They were racing or doing something. But anyone who’s familiar with Harley-riding knows you don’t race a Harley, you don’t do tricks on your Harley. You just ride,” she said.

Members of the club declined to be interviewed for this story. They said they are focusing on taking care of their brothers.

September 18, 2009
I-5, milepost 282, south of Wilsonville
Herbert Sinclair, David Bowyer, Juan Ramon Mata, Christian J. Gankema, Gary Pawson

The crash site on Interstate 5 south of Wilsonville where a motorcycle pile up led to multiple injuries. LifeFlight lifted two of the motorcyclists out with critical injuries. Photo courtesy Oregon State Police.
(Photo: Oregon State Police)

Oregon State Police
have identified three more victims in a multi-vehicle motorcycle crash. Previously identified were two riders who were critically injured, Herbert Sinclair, 48, of Heyburn, Idaho, and David Bowyer, 44, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The three previously unidentified motorcyclists are Juan Ramon Mata, 60, Christian J. Gankema, 40, and Gary Pawson, 38, all from Idaho.

As of September 19, the two most seriously injured were still hospitalized. Sinclair is listed in good condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. Bowyer is listed in serious condition at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Both had been in critical condition immediately following the crash.

According to, 10 riders from Brother Speed Motorcycle Club were injured in the accident, which occurred Friday, September 18, south of Wilsonville on I-5. At approximately 2:45 PM, as the motorcycle riders drove north in the left inside lane, traffic in front of them stopped. reports that a witness observed the bikers riding behind an SUV, which suddenly applied its brakes, causing what the witness termed a “domino effect.” Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said at least two SUVs were involved in the crash.

State police Lieutenant Gregg Hastings described the incident: "The first two motorcycles maneuvered to avoid a collision with the stopped vehicle, but the rest of the motorcycles could not react in time and crashed into the vehicle in front of their group and into each other."

Eight of the injured motorcyclists were transported to hospitals by ground ambulance with shoulder and hip injuries and broken bones, while two others were shuttled to Portland hospitals by Life Flight. Northbound lanes on the interstate were closed for about two hours, but all lanes were open by approximately 5:40 PM.

Brother Speed Motorcycle Club’s website says the Portland chapter was chartered in 1970, to promote “brotherhood, respect, riding fast and building Choppers.” The group is known for more than fast riding; they participate in charity work, including the annual Shriner’s Toy Run. The club has three chapters in Oregon.

Tragedy is not new for the “Black and Gold," but an accident of this magnitude is beyond anything they’ve experienced. “I’ve never seen [this] before,” said one shocked club insider, who added that, contrary to public perception, these are careful, “cautious” riders. Although there are disputes as to the accuracy of how many accidents involve motorcyclists, and for that matter how many are caused by them, riders often take special courses to not only ride safer themselves, but to watch out for other motorists on the road.

One thing is certain: this is a terrible tragedy. At this point, a lack of specifics prevents any judgment on exactly what happened or who may have been involved.

1 comment:

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