Another motorcycle rider killed

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By Zach Ahmad
Rocky Mount Telegram

Monday, March 26, 2007

A third motorcycle death in two days and a high-speed chase Saturday night have authorities vowing to crack down on out-of-control motorcyclists.

Marvin Leon Burgess, 37, of Whitakers was traveling west on N.C. 33 at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday near his hometown at excessive speeds when he attempted to steer to the left and ran his bike off the road, said N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Heath.

The motorcycle overturned before crashing into a utility pole, ejecting Burgess, who came to rest in the roadway on Shiloh School Road. Burgess was taken to Nash General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The accident was similar to one that killed a Bailey man earlier that evening.

Phillip Wayne Denton, 30, was traveling east on Stoney Hill Church Road outside Middlesex just after 5 p.m. Saturday at a high rate of speed, when he lost control while rounding a curve, said N.C. Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Keith Stone.

The bike ran off the left shoulder, became airborne and slid across a small creek, with Denton still on it. Denton's helmet struck a small tree, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both accidents followed yet another motorcycle crash on Friday that killed 22-year-old Ryan Scott Arnold, who lost control while traveling at high speeds on Branch Street in Rocky Mount.

Neither of the two men in Saturday's accidents had motorcycle endorsements on their driver's licenses, and authorities said inexperience played a role in both fatalities.

Heath said that motorcyclists riding without proper training is a growing trend, and is a danger not only to the motorcyclists but to others on the road as well.

"Not all of them are violating the law, but a lot of them are violating the law and driving without endorsements," Heath said. "It's just a few of them that give the others a bad name."

Shortly after the second fatality on Saturday, Heath followed another motorcyclist on a high-speed chase from the Gold Rock area into Halifax County, resulting in the motorist's arrest.

Heath said he attempted to stop 27-year-old Anthony Lamont Harvey of Roanoke Rapids after he spotted him driving at more than 100 mph north on N.C. 4.

After initially being pulled over, Harvey attempted to flee on his bike before a ticket could be written. Heath chased him into rural Halifax County at speeds reaching 140 mph.

After about 13 miles, Harvey tried to make a right turn at an intersection and lost control, dropping the bike. He was arrested and taken to the Nash County jail, where is being held under an $8,000 bond and charged with speeding to elude arrest and several traffic violations.

Stone said authorities will be extra vigilant toward speeding motorcyclists in light of the recent incidents.

"We're going to be paying closer attention to them, and we're going to be checking motorcycle endorsements," Stone said. "You can see what a dangerous situation this can be."