Falling branch kills two motorcyclists; witness recalls helping

Posted at 3:15 PM, May 28, 2018

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. -- John Leslie said he's lived in his current home for seven years and has heard all kinds of traffic-related noises. However, nothing compares to what he witnessed last night. This time it was a loss of life at the hands of Mother Nature.

Leslie said told FOX 17, "Just a freak accident in the middle of a beautiful day a tree falls down."

He said he heard the crash from inside his home along Yankee Springs Road and White Pine Drive near Middleville. Two men were enjoying a motorcycle cruise when they were struck suddenly by a falling tree branch.

"You can see where the bike came through the yard and went straight through the neighbor's yard into the fence," Leslie pointed.

He said he was the first to respond and that there there wasn't a rider in sight where he found that first bike.

"We followed the tire tracks and seen a man laying there," Leslie recalled.

"I ran to make sure the other guy was still talking, and he was ok. And so I went to the second guy and started CPR," he explained.

Leslie said he soon heard sirens. Medics arrived. But according to the Barry County Sherrif's Office, both men were hurt so badly they didn't survive. The lead driver, a 55-year-old man from Hudsonville, died at the scene.

"It hit him square. There's nothing he could do," Leslie described.

The second biker, a 47-year-old man from Wyoming, died at the hospital. Leslie said tree limbs fall from time to time, but usually during an ice or thunderstorm storm. The large limb that killed these men is now cut up in pieces on the side of the road. It's a visual reminder of what happened along the rural stretch on an otherwise nice summer day.

Leslie said, "As soon as the weather's warm there's thousands of bikes. It's a great place to ride."

"It's just too bad that an accident like this happens to people who come to visit the area," he said.

At last check, the sheriff's office was working to notify next of kin before releasing the names of the victims involved with this crash.