KINGSPORT — Kingsport Police Department Officer Dale Farmer typically investigates serious crashes inside the city limits. But this time, he may have averted one.
Farmer says he witnessed a motorcycle accelerate and pop a wheelie for more than 100 feet after spotting the bike traveling between 50 and 55 mph in the inside lane of westbound traffic near the Eagles Club entrance on East Stone Drive last week.
Farmer initiated a stop and found that the driver, Matthew Dan Lawson, 18, of 5865 Orebank Road, was not in possession of a motorcycle license or proof of insurance for the bike.
“I felt the offense would continue,” Farmer stated in an affidavit filed Oct. 11 after he placed Lawson under arrest around 10:10 a.m. on Oct. 10 and transported him to the Kingsport city jail.
The same day Farmer filed the affidavit, a comment was posted on Timesnews.net by Miller Vance responding to an August Timesnews.net article about a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper placed on leave during an investigation into the events that led up to a fatal crash. Justin Thompson, who allegedly was clocked traveling 140 mph by the trooper, was killed after a pursuit when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail at the intersection of Wadlow Gap Road and East Carters Valley Road.
Vance was one of several who posted comments who spoke of the need for young motorcyclists to learn safe riding techniques. He wrote that about a week prior to his post, he’d seen someone who used to ride with the deceased teen “wipe out” on East Stone Drive while showing off and performing stunts, including wheelies.
Kaila MacNamara wrote in a comment that Stone Drive is a common place to witness motorcyclists driving recklessly.
“If you travel stone dr at all, you will see motorcycles doing wheelies, stunts, and going well over 100 mph,” she wrote.
Travis Bledsoe commented that motorcyclists driving recklessly is a sight he’s often seen in the area of East Carters Valley Road and Wadlow Gap Road, writing that he’d seen several motorcyclists “passing cars on double yellow lines, weaving in and out of traffic, riding ‘wheelies’ and riding at extreme speeds while doing these ‘stunts.’”
On the Hawkins County end of Stone Drive, the Times-News has reported at least three instances this year of motorcyclists accused of reckless driving for traveling at high speeds and performing stunts on Highway 11-W.
Dion Russell, owner of Kingsport’s Down to Earth Skate Shop, told the Times-News in August that today’s youth is more involved in extreme sports like stunt riding. But he doesn’t advocate performing stunts on the open road.
“I go to a parking lot where it’s a controlled environment,” he said.
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