A Lakeside motorcycle club president said he’s awestruck by the support he’s seen after a crash east of Ocotillo killed five people and injured several others last month.
“We will never be able to show our gratitude for the support we’ve had,” said Carl “Coyote” Smith, president of the Lakeside Saddletramps Club. “It’s been phenomenal.”
A large group of club members was riding on State Route 98 Nov. 13, when a car lost control and slammed into the bikers. Four club members were killed including Tonya Trayer, 37, of El Cajon, Amy Heath, 36, and Lance “Demo” Heath, 43, of Alpine, and Bill “Bigfoot” Miller, 57, of Ramona.
The passenger of a car involved in the crash, 31-year-old Ana Lilia Gonzalez of Mexicali, Mexico, was also killed.
The Saddletramps have received donations from all types of organizations to help support two children orphaned by the crash and two other children whose father will be hospitalized for awhile, Smith said.
People from Harley dealerships, to sport bike riders and car clubs have supported the cause.
New York Mike, owner of San Diego Harley Davidson, helped sponsor a fundraiser at the Tilted Kilt Wednesday night.
Gregg “The Goat” Cook lives in Sturgess, South Dakota learned about the crash through a friend on Facebook and knew he wanted to help raise funds.
“This isn’t just a local thing anymore. Riders are riders,” Cook said. “Wherever you are, it’s a brotherhood, a sisterhood.”
Smith said the club is using the money to help handle insurance costs, plan funerals and even pay mortgages for those injured.
"Up until the last couple of days, we were so busy that we really didn’t have time to ponder [the loss] too much but everybody in the club has been doing something," Smith said.
Five club members were injured including Wilson “Wet Willy” Trayer, 39, of El Cajon, John Lombardo, 55, of Lakeside, Melanie Barnes, 46, and William Barnes, 57, of San Diego.
The club was on the ride to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
The crash occurred shortly before 1 p.m. as an eastbound gold Honda Accord went into the oncoming lane to pass about a dozen motorcycles, some of them carrying two people, authorities said. That maneuver forced a westbound Dodge Avenger sedan to swerve on to the sandy shoulder to avoid a head-on collision.
At that point the westbound car veered back across the road and into the cyclists.
The driver of the sedan, Carlos Ramirez Bobadilla, 36, of Mexicali, Mexico, was also injured in the crash.
The driver of the Honda Accord, a man wearing a baseball cap, still has not been found.