Local News

Motorcyclist killed in Clayton wreck

Posted June 17, 2011

— A motorcyclist died Thursday afternoon in a wreck in Clayton, police said Friday.

John Joseph Helme III, 22, of Marcellus Way in Clayton, was northbound on Shotwell Road on a 2003 Yamaha motorcycle at about 4:30 p.m. when a southbound Chevrolet made a left turn onto Covered Bridge Road in front of him, police said.

Helme's motorcycle hit the passenger side of the car, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Chevrolet, Grace Lynn Ragan, 19, of Covered Bridge Road, was taken to Johnston Medical Center in Clayton for treatment of minor injuries.

Witnesses told investigators that Helme was speeding before the wreck, but police said they are trying to reconstruct the incident and analyze evidence, including laboratory test results, before finishing their investigation.

The intersection was closed for about an hour after the crash.


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  • mdh20 Jun 23, 2011

    it is risky to ride a bike, i just had 2 friends killed June 19th, & 1 killed last April on motorcylces, and i ride myself just for them! the 2 lives took sunday were caused by a CARELESS, and ignorant drunk driver! idc what no one says about experienced or inexperienced drivers now days there are only a few GOOD safe drivers out there, and everyone should pay better attention to there surroundings than a cell phone, or ipod ... or turning in front of someone ... this is terrible & to loose a friend or family member is a loss that is unbearable, it will make you so mad at the person that caused this because 98 % of the time they werent paying attention

  • SeaDog Jun 17, 2011

    RIP. :(

    Please PLEASE look out for motorcyclists out there. Motorcyclists: please ride within your limits, at a sensible speed for the conditions. If you decide to get on a motorcycle, at least take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. It could save your life.

  • brassy Jun 17, 2011

    So sorry for the family.

    I agree with the suggestion of revoking licenses of those who hit motorcyclists. It's past time people learned to see them. You never hear a driver at a crash site going "I never saw a mom with a stroller."

  • NMBound Jun 17, 2011

    workingforthosethatwont - Do you realize that experienced drivers make left turns in front of other drivers all the time? It is in an accident and she did not set out to cause the death of someone else.

  • workingforthosethatwont Jun 17, 2011

    I have a different opinion. It was not an accident. It was a crash, one that took a young man's life because of a mistake an inexperienced driver made. She was obviously not paying attention and caused the crash, no matter how fast he was going she should not have turned in front of him. Now he's dead.
    Revoke her license for 10 yrs and people will learn to pay attention.
    I really hope her wireless device had nothing to do with this crash.

  • CrewMax Jun 17, 2011

    It just seems so risky riding a bike these days.

  • ncmedic201 Jun 17, 2011

    @mileage, those tracks are not a few hundred feet away. They are on the other side of the traffic light. Covered Bridge intersects with Shotwell closer to 1/2 mile from those tracks.

  • clabeff Jun 17, 2011

    How about we all remember the friends and family of BOTH of these victims are reading these postings? It was an accident, period. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Helmes. We will miss JJ very much.
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

  • rebecca7 Jun 17, 2011

    Prayers for the Helme family. Praying for Grace Ragan too. She's going to have to deal with this for the rest of her life - just like the Helme family is. It's hard to judge speeds of oncoming traffic at times. Always better to err on the side of caution if you think you may be cutting it even slightly too close. Again - praying for all involved.

  • jenlbryan1101 Jun 17, 2011

    Although we are entitled to our free speech I get that. Let's remember a young man who I know for a fact was loved my many has died. Doesn't matter who's fault it is.... Tonight some mother, father, sister, aunt, uncle, friend.... you get my point. They are mourning their loved one. Who cares when there is an accidental death involved who's fault it is?