Collision kills retired firefighter on memorial ride
By John C. Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News
September 13, 2002

Retired Arvada firefighter Ray Feasel died Thursday doing what he often did, watching out for other people's safety.

The 59-year-old motorcycle enthusiast was the last rider in "The Ride to Remember," a procession of about 225 firefighters who traveled to New York City to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. His daughter, Amanda, was along.

He had been serving as road guard, the rider who brings up the rear and supervises the procession.

The riders were in Newark, N.J., when a Sheraton Hotel shuttle bus clipped Feasel's motorcycle, police said. He died a short time later.

"He was a very dependable and a very caring person," said retired Arvada Fire Chief Matt Kramer. "I used to get on him about the motorcycle, but that was part of his life.

"I had a lot of good firemen. It's hard to lose one, especially that way."

Feasel belonged to the Wind and Fire Motorcycle Club, a group of firefighters. He was among 60 riders who started from Lakewood on Sept. 5 to be in New York City for the first anniversary of the attacks.

The group had set out Thursday for Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania - the other attack sites.

They were near Newark Liberty Airport around 8:28 a.m. Eastern time when the accident occurred, said Newark police Lt. Derek Glenn.

"There was a group of cars stopped to allow the motorcycle procession to pass by," Glenn said. "We're investigating the possibility that the shuttle bus driver went around the stopped traffic and hit the motorcycle."

No charges have been filed, but the shuttle driver, Pierre Calixte, 60, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was issued a summons for not having his driver's license and other papers, Glenn said.

Feasel had been a volunteer firefighter more than 20 years. He also rode as part of a safety patrol for funeral processions, said Lt. Sean Schwartzkopf, a fellow firefighter and motorcycle buff.

"This guy's been riding motorcycles for 40 years. He was probably one of the most careful guys that you can have on a bike," Schwartzkopf said.

Members of Ride to Remember canceled their activities for the day. They planned to regroup in Frederick, Md., said Arvada Fire Department spokeswoman Michele Passerella. She said the ride is set to end Sept. 21 in Colorado Springs at the International Association of Fire Fighters Memorial.
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In Memory Of Retired Firefighter Ray Feasel