Biker dodges head-on crash

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 25, 2011

By Shelley Smith
A Salisbury motorcyclist is lucky to be alive after a Monday morning encounter on N.C. 150, says a trooper with the N.C. State Highway Patrol
Eric Ledbetter was westbound about 5:45 a.m. when he crested a hill near the Lazy 5 Ranch and saw headlights ahead, in his lane. A car was headed straight at him.
“I was about 30 feet away from headlights,” he said. “Instinctively, I hit the brakes, and went over into the dirt.”
Ledbetter says he went down in a ditch, and his motorcycle flew 100 feet.
Trooper E.B. Perdue said Ledbetter threw himself from the bike, saving his life.
The car coming toward him was illegally passing another car in a no-passing zone. When the driver saw Ledbetter’s bike, the driver slammed on the brakes and whipped behind the car he was planning to pass.
Neither car stopped to help Ledbetter.
Ledbetter was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center and was discharged Tuesday afternoon. He had a broken vertebrae in his back and has to wear a back brace for some time.
“It was basically hit the car head-on or wreck the bike,” he said. “The gentleman passing hit the brakes, and I heard them squawk just as I was hitting the dirt.
“He knew something had to have happened. He just didn’t stop.”
Ledbetter was on his way to NASCAR Tech, where he is a student, and he doesn’t have health insurance. He has been unemployed for two years and he will have to miss classes because of his injuries.
“I have a mountain of medical bills now,” he said.
He wishes the other driver would have at least stopped to check on him.
“Who the heck was this guy?” he said. “Why couldn’t he have stopped to see if I was OK? He could have killed me.
“It’s not so much that I want to charge this guy. I’m more concerned with the next guy that’s out there who may not make it the next time.”
Perdue says there are no leads, and he hopes someone with any information about the incident will contact the highway patrol.
“People need to be aware of the dangers of passing on a double yellow line,” he said. “The double yellow lines are there for a reason. It may be that there’s a blind spot in the road, or on a hill crest … but it’s to protect you and other motorists traveling in the opposite direction.”
The penalties for passing a double yellow line are stiff, Perdue said, and “could be as stiff as killing yourself or another life.”
“More than likely, being the time in the morning this was, I have a feeling the guy was probably late for work, trying to get to work on time,” he said. “If that’s the case, leave earlier. Don’t kill somebody else or kill yourself.
“Don’t let one irresponsible event lead to another irresponsible event…. He’s very, very lucky.”
If you have any information into the incident, you can contact the N.C. Highway Patrol at 704-639-7574.