CONCORD, N.C. — Two people died after their motorcycles collided at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday. A third person was injured in the accident.
Officials said 66-year-old Alan Richard Mockus and 71-year-old Thomas Franklin Hollingsworth were killed in the accident. Deborah Lynn Mockus, 56, is still in the hospital, officials said.
Witnesses said the two men were not following the track rules laid out by the organizers of Saturday’s Vietnam Veterans celebration.
The victims were seen riding at excess of 70 mph. Their bikes were traveling at the top of track, from opposite directions and collided head on when both drivers attempted to come down to avoid each other.
The crash happened right after a "Homecoming for Vietnam Veterans" event at the speedway. The bikers apparently joined in on the procession independently and were not affiliated with a veteran’s bike group.
For months before the "Welcome Home to Vietnam Veterans" event at the speedway, organizers spent hours on conference calls making plans in the hopes of preventing an accident.
Jeff Phillips, President of Rolling Thunder, Chapter 2 in Statesville, said each of the major bike groups on the calls (like Rolling Thunder, the Patriot Guard and several others) got a copy of the rules, which clearly state that driving high on the check or at speeds beyond 35 miles per hour was prohibited.
"We told people if you go above the apron, you will be escorted out," Phillips said. "Appaently they didn't get the message or didn't comply."
It's unclear whether Mockus and Hollingsworth intentionally broke the rules. It's possible that they were never told the rules because organizers decided to let in outside bikers, who were not affiliated with the major bike groups on the planning conference calls.
"No P.A. system, it's hard to tell these (outside bikers) the rules," Phillips said.
In defense of Rolling Thunder, senior members of the group actively monitored any bikers at the track and told them to come down when they caught people breaking ruleson the track.