Sergeant Dylan Bryan reported to Historic City News that last night’s fatal crash on US-1 north of I-95 should serve as a sobering reminder of the added risks of bikers who will be in town as part of bike week activities and spring break.
Florida Highway Patrol and Fire Rescue personnel responded to the scene of the two-motorcycle vs. truck crash at approximately 9:00 p.m. Thursday evening. One rescue, one engine, one heavy rescue squad, and a battalion chief responded from St Johns County Fire Rescue, according to Matthew Sara.
When first responders arrived, they discovered a small moving truck, a 2011 International 400 Series, completely blocking the northbound lanes of US-1. According to the traffic homicide investigator, the driver, 29-year-old Philip Smith of St Augustine, was backing into a private driveway when the crash occurred.
Two motorcycles, a 2005 Harley Davidson driven by 51-year-old Leon Laquay of Seymour, Connecticut, and a 2010 Harley Davidson driven by 49-year-old James Convertito of Shelton, Connecticut, were traveling north on US-1 in the outside lane.
Laquay was traveling ahead of Convertito, the incident report said. Laquay told investigators that he swerved to the left to avoid the moving truck; but clipped the front-left corner of the vehicle and was ejected from his motorcycle.
From evidence collected at the scene, it was determined that Convertito also swerved to the left; but, he was unable to avoid colliding with the left side of the moving truck. Convertito was pronounced dead at the scene.
The moving truck suffered about $6,000 in damages and the damages to Convertito’s motorcycle were estimated to be about $20,000. Blood alcohol tests for both Smith and Convertito are pending — troopers cleared Laquay stating that alcohol was not a factor on his part. Laquay’s motorcycle sustained about $1,500 in damages, according to the report.
Smith was transported to Flagler Hospital with minor injuries and released. Neither Laquay nor Convertito were wearing a motorcycle helmet.