Stephen Erwin Killed in Motorcycle Accident on FM 439 in Bell County, TX
Bell County, TX — June 18, 2022, 64-year-old motorcyclist Stephen Erwin died in a collision with an SUV on FM 439 in Bell County.
According to reports the incident happened around 7:00 p.m. on FM 439 near Chalk Lane, just outside Nolanville. Preliminary investigation suggests Erwin was riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle west on the road when a Toyota 4Runner turned left out of a business's private drive and entered his path. The two vehicles collided in the roadway.
Erwin was pronounced dead at the scene. The Toyota driver was unhurt.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Stephen Erwin Accident on FM 439 in Bell County
Police interviewed about this crash took the opportunity to remind people to keep an eye out for motorcyclists while driving--good advice, too often ignored or forgotten. Many riders have paid a heavy price when other drivers treat their motorcycles more like nuisances than vehicles. Even more concerning are times when the public or even investigators do the same.
That leads me to mention a troubling detail I noticed in reports: Police collected blood samples from the victim, which means they planned to conduct toxicology tests to see if he might have been intoxicated. I understand that's often just a matter of procedure after a fatal crash, but I'm reading things right they didn't collect samples from the driver who failed to yield.
I'm not accusing that person of anything, but if investigators test the victim for doing little else but minding his own business, why not be thorough and test the person who drove into his way? It's an odd choice and seems unfortunately reflective of the biases I mentioned before. Let's hope police had a better reason than "four wheels good, two wheels bad" to be so selective.
In the meantime at least the warnings about looking out for motorcyclists hold up. This wreck may be due to little more than a moment's carelessness, but a moment's all it may take. I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of awareness behind the wheel, and that certainly extends to watching out for riders as well. Hopefully this tragedy will at least help some people recognize the importance of sharing the road.