Benefit ride supports injured crash victims
Jennifer Reyes/Eyewitness News
Pendleton - Hundreds of motorcyclists took to the streets to show support for the victims of a fatal accident involving an IMPD officer.
The bikers gathered at American Legion Post 117 in Pendleton for the benefit ride for Eric Wells, who died in the August 6 crash, and hospitalized victims Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills. Weekly is still in critical condition. Mills was a passenger on his bike the day of the crash and is out of the hospital, but the road to recovery is bumpy.
"She is very broken and it is going to take her a long time, you know," said Mills daughter, Aja Margerum. "She is healing and, at the same time, doing physical therapy, so it is very painful. It is very emotional, it is just very hard for her."
Metro Police Officer David Bisard is facing felony charges in connection with the crash.
"We need to get to the truth. I support what they want, too, which is to get to the truth and then go from there," Margerum said. "To know that she has this much support behind her is absolutely wonderful. It gives us hope that there will be change and justice."
The registration line was long Sunday morning, but that's what organizers wanted. Money raised by the ride will help pay medical bills for Weekly and Mills.
"I would've never imagined all these people being here," said Tim True of Mitchell.
"I'm very thankful for the support they've shown. The American Legion is wonderful for setting this up," said Margerum.
Mayor Greg Ballard also attended Sunday's event. He was well-received and shared a few words of encouragement.
"I'm here to tell you, the families deserve what the truth is, they deserve to know what happened," the mayor said.
"I think he spoke the truth and, like he said, not all officers are bad," True said.
Margerum says she is thankful for the support riders offer and appreciates what Mayor Ballard is doing, but things more could be done by city leaders.
"I think it is wonderful that he is here, but I think it is a shame that he is the only one willing to man up and actually show a little bit of remorse and he wasn't even involved in the accident," she said.
Bikers left the post headed to Monument Circle as their way of showing the community it was more than just a ride for justice.
"We're taking small steps forward to make this a better community," said Carolyn Hamm, who helped organize the event.
The riders returned to the Pendleton American Legion Post for a concert. They say they are planning more benefits in the future.
Thousands motor downtown
Three hours later, the swarm of bikers stormed onto the bricks of Monument Circle, passengers with their hands in the air and bikers with their hand on the throttle, letting everyone know they were there.
"Justice without truth is injustice," said a speaker at the rally downtown.
"It's a good feeling to know that there's so much support out there," said Ryan Wells.
Wells lost his brother, Eric, four weeks ago and says he isn't about to let anyone forget what happened.
"Myself and the rest of my family, this is our lives. This is a life-changing experience and there is no more normal. That's gone. That's been ripped away from us," he said.
Wells is just getting on the road to healing and the rides are helping him get there.
"Doesn't quite fill the void in my heart, but [there's] a little space for it there," he said.
While the healing is going to take some time, getting to the truth, Wells says, should not.
"I think the blame goes around. Dr. Straub, as far as I'm concerned, he needs to put himself up on that same pedestal, that he demoted those three officers for a lack of leadership," Wells said. "Because he is clearly showing that he really has no idea the impact of every single indecision he makes, that it has on this city and the state and the spread all over. He will find out soon enough. He'll find out."
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