Man who died in motorcycle crash was witness in NASCAR case

Updated:

Loading

GRANITE FALLS, N.C. - Eyewitness News learned the operator of a motorcycle who died in Caldwell County was a key witness in a prosecution case against former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield.

When Channel 9 called the district attorney's office about what they planned on doing now, officials responded "No comment."

Two people died in the crash when the motorcycle traveling in excess of 100 mph hit an SUV.

The motorcycle sped away from Blowing Rock police officers Sunday morning, racing down the mountainside along Highway 321.

State troopers said John Franklin tried to elude the officers by going behind Cheek's store, north of Lenoir.

Less than 15 minutes later, both he and his rider, Allison Nixon, died after the bike hit an SUV south of Granite Falls.

"I don't believe it. It is hard to take in," said Sharon Forester, who lived near Nixon.

Nixon, 22, had a 3-year-old child.

Forester remembers warning Nixon about getting on the bike with Franklin, who at the time of the crash had a suspended license and was not certified to operate motorcycles.

"He drove crazy," Forester said, "When he was mad at her, he would go in and out of here real fast. I warned her but she wouldn't listen."

It was Franklin's connection to the Mayfield case that got the attention of prosecutors in three different counties.

Law enforcement sources would only say he was an important witness for the cases against the former NASCAR driver.

The Highway Patrol said they still don't know why Franklin wouldn't stop for police.

"It is senseless," Trooper Chris Bently said. "We had two people get killed. The passenger on the motorcycle had a 3-year-old child. Now that child is without a parent at this time."

Police broke off the pursuit more than 13 miles from where the crash happened.

Eyewitness News called Mayfield on Monday afternoon about the developments, but haven't heard back from him.