Driver charged with reckless driving.
Virginia State Police were still investigating Wednesday a grisly accident on U.S. 211 just after 1 p.m. Sunday between Sperryville and Shenandoah National Park that took the life of a West Virginia motorcyclist and sent at least six others to the hospital.
State police spokesman Sgt. F. L. Tyler said 42-year-old Theodore Randolph “Randy” Dorsey of Charlestown, W.Va., died in the crash, which shut down the two-lane highway for almost four hours. Joann Dorsey, 41, a passenger seated behind her husband, was flown to University of Virginia Medical Center, where she remains in intensive care.
Tyler said a 1967 Austin Healey sports car being driven west by James Warren Cox, 63, of Alexandria, apparently lost control on the right-hand curve just west of the Sperryville Emporium, crossed the center line and struck at least four motorcycles headed east in a group of seven. One rescue squad veteran estimated the bikers would have had less than a second to react.
Dorsey, described by friends as good-hearted ex-Marine who worked as an instructor for BSR Inc. – the company that offers accident-avoidance and advanced-driving courses to military, State Department, high school groups and other clients at Summit Point race track near Charlestown – was a member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, an independent and purposefully law-abiding club whose members around the country consider themselves “brothers.” His club name was Abyss.
In the three days since a report of the accident was posted on the Rappahannock News’ RappNews.com website, scores of comments were posted on the site by IO brothers, family and friends. Most were supportive, many heartbroken; a few were pointedly hurt and angry.
“I am still in shock and my heart is broken for this loss,” wrote Jennifer Davis, a Frederick County, Md., friend who said she’d known Dorsey since his days as a quarterback on the Brunswick High School football team. Her post went on to remind other commenters that, despite the anger and hurt, “the angel that is now watching over us is probably saying, ‘Only God can judge.’ ”
“Randy got along with anybody,” she said. “He had such a good heart.”
At Summit Point, BSR training director Lee Chewey said Dorsey had been teaching advanced driving and accident-avoidance courses since 2008. “He was one of our high-timers, not full time, but just about. He was a very good instructor, very well-liked and always joking around. Everybody who got in his car with him loved him. It’s still a shock to us, and we’re really going to miss him.”
Virginia State Police spokesman Tyler said other motorcyclists went down and were injured trying to avoid the car. Sperryville Volunteer Fire Company Chief Richie Burke said three motorcyclists were able to avoid the car and stop safely.
Along with Joann Dorsey, rider Curtis “Jokester” Nobles of Hedgesville, W.Va. was also flown by AirCare helicopter to U.Va. Medical Center (at least four others, including the wife of the driver of the car, were taken to Fauquier Hospital; Cox was uninjured).
Nobles’ wife Ashley said she was planning on going on the ride, which Dorsey and other club members planned for several days after hearing the weekend weather reports. She decided the night before, however, to stay home with her kids and take them to a movie. “While I was at the movie,” she said, her voice breaking, “this happened.”
She said her husband had no life-threatening injuries but had already undergone emergency surgery and “has a long road ahead of him.” Dorsey, she said, was an “amazing human” who had an infectious smile and gave his friends great bear hugs. “My heart is crushed,” she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tyler said trooper Paul Domingoes is still investigating the accident, and that no charges had yet been made. Alcohol, he said, was likely not a factor in the accident. After the injured were transported to hospitals by volunteer squads from Sperryville, Washington and Luray, Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office personnel and a state police crash-reconstruction team spent most of the afternoon at the accident scene.
A second motorcycle accident occurred at almost the same moment north of Flint Hill, involving a single rider who crashed his motorcycle into a 2007 Honda SUV on U.S. 522 at Meadowbrook Lane (near Wakefield Country Day School), as he tried to pass traffic that had slowed in front of him. Volunteer rescue squads from Flint Hill, Chester Gap and Amissville responded there; a helicopter ambulance from the Pegasus service transported Johnnie Wayne Davis, 38, of Strasburg.
Tyler said the state police would like to hear from anyone who might have seen the dark- blue-and-white Austin Healey sports car driving in Sperryville or points east before the accident. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.