June 28, 2014

It Could Have Been Me

Shawna's roadside memorial placed here recently.
"She was riding her motorcycle about 50 mph when she hit the car. You people ride through here like it's a race track all the time. It was bound to happen eventually."

The neighbor who watched the crash wanted to share his thoughts with me this morning at the accident scene. Although distressed, he encouraged me to ride more carefully in the future, as if I had been involved.

Yesterday when I arrived at our hotel in the late afternoon, the desk clerk was so thrilled to see me.

"I'm so glad you're OK! I saw on the news a woman had been killed on a motorcycle right down the street and I was worried it was you."

Upon reaching my room, I read the article and realized the accident occurred about a mile away.

33-year-old Shawna Elaine Throneberry was riding her motorcycle when a car turned right in front of her, causing a collision. California Highway Patrol Sgt. James Nabors said the driver of the car did not see the motorcycle when she was making a left-hand turn.

I felt compelled to go to the accident scene this morning, just to say a little prayer. The small cross mounted on the street sign was surrounded with debris and sand from the accident. As I knelt down for a moment, seeing the broken bits of motorcycle at my feet sent shivers of reality up my spine.

This could me be. This could be any of us.

Even if Shawna had been riding 15 miles over the speed limit, according to authorities, the car rolled through the stop sign turning right without stopping. Shawna was turning left at the same, tight residential intersection and the two collided in the middle of the street. The driver of the car never stopped at the intersection and never saw the motorcycle until Shawna's helmet came through the cager's windshield.

"It tore her stomach out of her body when she hit the car," her friend told me.

There beside the school yard, Trina approached the makeshift cross with her hands tucked deep in her pockets, obviously wracked with despair. Friends with Shawna and her partner, the two of whom had relocated to Bakersfield from Tennessee recently, Trina wanted to pay her respects.

"I don't know how you do it. I don't know how you ride those things," Trina said as she motioned towards my parked motorcycle.

We both stood in silence for a long while, staring at the broken motorcycle waste that lay at our feet.

I thought of my grandson who will be born any day now. I thought of my family, my friends, my husband. . . I hoped they would never stand where I was standing now.

"We all ride fast, now and then. It's hard not to pull back on that throttle sometimes, because it feels so good," I explained.

Trina spoke sweetly of Shawna, proud that she was an Army veteran. Shawna's partner is working on funeral arrangements today with Trina's help, but she doesn't have anywhere to go now. With no other friends locally, Shawna was her whole world.

"The Army didn't kill her, but the bike did."

According to authorities, no arrests have been made and the driver was not found to be at fault for the accident, since the motorcycle was allegedly speeding. It is completely unfair that even though the driver never stopped at the stop sign and never saw the motorcycle, the possibility that the motorcyclist was speeding 10-15 miles per hour puts her totally at fault, overriding any fault of the driver.

For me, the death of this rider served as a reminder that cagers don't see us, riding is dangerous and life isn't fair.



  1. Wow! Amazing writing! It was a pleasure getting to meet with you this morning. Im not sure what why or even how but as you walked away this morning to get on your bike something washed over me... I think meeting you this morning happened for a reason. Thank you. Congrats on your first grandkid! And please take care an be safe! -Trina

    1. Thanks so much Chrissy! It was great meeting you too. I wish you well. Hugs!

  2. Tina,

    How tragic. Anyone who rides should try to learn from Shawna and the accident that took her life. We need to always be aware of cagers and assume that they don't see us and we should always be mindful of our speed, especially at intersections.

    I'll say a prayer for Shawna and her family...we all should.


    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy

    1. Yes Curt, always a lesson. It was a powerful place to stand.

  3. Man, that really sucks. I agree with Curt, a somber reminder to be hyper aware of our surroundings and always assume they aren't going to stop.

    We've had 19 riders die in Oregon so far this year. Just sad.

    1. Trobairitz, that's so many riders! I can't believe it!
      I always assume they can't see me. If only they could see my pink hair! It seems no one misses that. . . .

  4. Just awful! Awful that a promising life was lost. Awful that this woman survived the Army, but not a motorcycle ride. Awful that 10-15 over the limit absolves the cage driver of any responsibility. Awful that the line, "I didn't see the biker," again is used to try to escape any penalty. May Shawna RIP

  5. "I didn't see him"... The greatest amount of the time that is a damned Lie. cagers Rarely don't see us. I despise that lie they use and them. If you can't see a several hundred pound machine, in broad daylight, with a hundred and thirty pound give or take rider on it... you are incompetent to operate a motor vehicle of any sort at the least and guilty of manslaughter in any respect.

    I've lost count or the times they've tried to take me head on, on sunny days... They see... they just think they're bigger and so they can force their way. They are despicable.

    Bullying is not only in the school yard. That a cage can run a stop sign... but the bike is going a little too quick? and so the murderous cage is immune to responsibility?... It matters not to a cager. They run us down at any speed... they run us down when we are sitting at stop lights and parrot that lie... because it works... they get away with it.

    I believe the greatest amount of the time it is deliberate, knowing, callous, disregard.

    Ride as if you are invisible. Never allow your ride to carry you where they can run you down... because they will try. It's like the kids game of tag... all they have to do is Cry "Officer! I never saw him"... SAFE!... and they're turned loose to bully again... it's despicable.

    1. I always seem to be riding in traffic, so riding as if I'm invisible is constantly in my head. You got it right Brian.

  6. I love riding and the feeling I get from it, but every time I hear of an accident it sets me thinking about the whole thing. A very good friend of mine had an accident on Thursday morning she was riding to work and a deer struck her. There were 2 deer actually and she saw the first one & slowed down and then the second deer bounded out and that is the one that took her down. She survived the crash and was extremely lucky. She was going highway speed when The deer hit. She rolled/slid down the highway, her right shoulder & ankle took the weight of the bike and then when she was rolling her left knee impacted the pavement. She was wearing gear and it saved her skin. Her jacket is abraded and done. She is strong & tough and feeling better. She was so lucky and honestly can't figure out why she is still alive, because usually after a deer strike most motorcyclists don't survive. Her bike is still together, the windshield is toast, her tank is dented, saddlebag a write-off and brake lever & foist peg as well. Paramedics were amazed she was alive. So all in all she was lucky and her guardian angel was with her. It has shaken me to my very core.

    1. Wow, that's a shame Dar. Glad to hear she's up and around. Take care.

  7. Great article Sash! I thought "rude biker chick" was going to say much more than you did. You were nice here. This stuff sickens me. It is a war zone out there for motorcyclists. We have to ride defensively 50% of the time and assume the car drivers are NOT going to do what their supposed to. Unfortunately, the thrill of the ride gets to us and we start flying happily enjoying the sights and sounds of what we're doing .... those moments inattention though can have tragic consequences. This is a lesson for all of us. Thanks. Good writing.

    1. Thanks Genevieve. I wrestled with it, the thought of editorializing, but I had hope that my readers and rider friends would do it for me, and they have. I became so saddened at the scene. I feared I was going to lose perspective, so I went right back to my hotel and wrote the article. I'm glad I did.
      Thanks for the compliment. It means a great deal to me.

  8. Im asking you as a family member of Shawna to remove this post. The facts you state here are not true. The other driver was turning LEFT not right and her car was facing the stop sign to prove this please go look at the markings on the road. The man who claims he saw the whole thing also stated to us, her family, that he heard Shawna coming down the road, which btw the coroner and authorities stated shawna WAS NOT SPEEDING when we were notified of her death, and that he had heard a loud sound which sounded like a bomb going off and ran outside, therefore his statement makes absolutely no sense to say he say it but didnt actually see it until they had already hit. The woman who turned LEFT in front of Shawna is completely at fault in this accident and i was at this site at night, there was no possible way she couldnt have seen shawna coming down the road! This road is extremely dark and shawna never road without lights, being at the site all I had was a flashlight and cars saw me and slowed down, so im positive this woman saw her and just thought she could make it through but didnt.

    1. Stacy,
      I appreciate your request, but I am not going to remove my post. I gathered my facts legitimately and I wrote based on the information I had at the time. I wish no harm to you are your family; actually, I wish you well and I hope you are able to get charges pressed against this negligent driver. I agree the driver of the cage was completely at fault in this accident, whether she was turning right or left, she ran the stop sign and killed Shawna.
      I'm terribly sorry for your loss, as are all of the riders who read and commented on this post.
      If you would like to contact me directly, please email me at Sash@TooMuchTina.com and please include information to contact you as well.
      My husband and I send our deepest sympathies.

    2. Sash,
      I appreciate you replying to my comment. I just wanted to put it out there that what you had written was not all the facts. I do apologize if it at all seemed like I was attacking you. I jus wanted the truth out there for this and not what people would like to say they saw when actually they did not see anything but heard the crash and then came outside. I did not mean for you take down the whole post but maybe revise it to have the correct facts. our family has been through enough with losing her father just two weeks before this tragic accident happened that we do not want anyone bashing Shawna saying she was speeding when the authorities said she was not speeding at the time of the crash. Also, the man that you talked to told us the same version of the story but also contradicted himself several times during his version of what happened.

    3. Thanks Stacy. I wanted to give you an opportunity to be heard, so I left the post up, as well as your comments.

    4. ...and this is why I never ever post details about the death of a rider. I think that it is disrespectful to the family, In many cases, the blogger gets more info and sometimes it can be wrong. Posting prematurely is inappropriate, I never post until I am given the authority to do so by family, spokesperson or some cases a club, More often than not they reach out to me.

      I must say Sash, posting the particulars of the riders condition and in such graphic detail about the injuries she sustained is in extreme bad taste. And frankly, it is really not the business of the reader nor does it have bearing on the accident itself, It is nothing more than gruesome details that really is nothing more than here say. How would you like it if it were your family reading about you?

      Do the right thing and amend your post If you are going to write these kinds of posts, learn the 5 W's and stick to them. You will be better for it and your readers will have all the facts that they need to know.

    5. @iedarla, this article wasn't about Shawna, it was about how Sash was touched by her death. This website is not about the news, it's about Sash, it's her blog, its about her personal thoughts. WTF?

    6. Thanks iedarla for taking the time to read my article and comment. How unfortunate that you felt it appropriate to judge me, my methods, and critique my writing! Especially considering we don't know one another and this is our first interaction. I'm rather surprised, actually.
      Perhaps you should apply those 5 W's to your commenting. You certainly don't know how I obtained all of my information, what was edited, how the family felt nor the accuracy of my article. You've made quite an assumption, and written about it here, without doing any research yourself. How do you know I haven't already amended my post?
      I hope that in the future you and I can interact on a more cordial basis. I've taken your opinion and considered it, for all it's worth to me. I'm open to learning more about you so in the future, if we should meet, we can have a frank, honest and kind discussion about motorcycling. If you choose to bring this judgmental attitude with you though, please don't bother speaking to me, as i'm not really interested in spending any time with such a negative person.
      Hope you're feeling better soon!

  9. Replies
    1. It is so sad Madhavi. Thanks for sending the love out to them. I'm sure they appreciate it.


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