): Yeah, huge.. :/ People these days? Why so many car crashes?Originally Posted by TampaBayNewsPALM HARBOR - Two men died in a fireball Monday when a motorcycle slammed into a sports utility vehicle, flipping them both.
The SUV landed on its side, on top of the motorcyclist, sparking a fire that filled the air with thick, black smoke.
Authorities have not identified the burned bodies of the drivers, except to say they were both white men. Witnesses said the motorcyclist was driving faster than 100 miles per hour.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle was speeding north on U.S. 19 near Nebraska Avenue about 10:55 a.m. when it crashed into the passenger side of a Chevrolet Suburban making a U-turn.
Neither driver had a passenger.
Trooper Larry Coggins Jr. called the impact "very intense," noting the 900-pound motorcycle was able to flip a 4,000-pound SUV.
He said the motorcycle appeared to be traveling very fast but was not believed to be racing.
The crash happened on a busy stretch of U.S. 19 in front of Payless ShoeSource and a Carvel Ice Cream store.
Dorothy Norton said she was finishing breakfast at a nearby bagel shop and saw the motorcycle passing everybody on the road.
When the driver tried to stop, his back wheel lifted high into the air, Norton said.
Then the collision.
Other witnesses heard the thud of the crash. They looked out to see a fire, small at first, but quickly growing.
The SUV rested on its side on top of the green bike.
Michael West put down the hot dog he was eating and picked up a fire extinguisher from his truck. He emptied the extinguisher fighting the blaze. His brother, Chuck West, used another one, but wasn't able to put out the flames. Nor was a local postman who tried with a third extinguisher, according to witnesses.
"I didn't want them to die or nothing," Chuck West said, "but there was nothing we could do."
Michael West fought his way to the edge of the SUV and peered in. He said he didn't see any movement.
Coggins, of the FHP, said it was unclear how fast the motorcycle was traveling or whether it tried to stop.
Because of the extreme violence of the wreck, the bodies will have to be identified by the medical examiner, Coggins said.
The crash closed the northbound side of the highway until 2:30 p.m.
Times staff writer Casey Cora and researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jonathan Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727 445-4157.
[Last modified January 7, 2008, 21:50:29]