MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 17, 2013

Two city men hurt escorting memorial

Vietnam Wall copy on display at Sequoyah High

— Two Muskogee men were injured Tuesday in a motorcycle crash during an escort of a war memorial.

Jim Roberts, 65, and Larry Todd, 68, were two of about 100 Patriot Guard riders escorting the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall to Tahlequah. The riders met Tuesday morning at Big Cabin, traveled through Adair, Pyror, Chouteau, Wagoner, and then Muskogee on their way to Sequoyah High School.

As the procession passed the 11th Street and West Shawnee Bypass intersection, half of the group peeled off and stopped. As the first half of the group continued to Tahlequah, a single, driverless motorcycle continued east on the bypass, jumped the median, and sped across the westbound lane before coming to a crashing halt in a ditch.

Muskogee Police Officer Ken Hughey said that a motorcycle driven by Roberts rear-ended another motorcycle and then collided with the one driven by Todd. The collision knocked Todd off his motorcycle, sending it flying into oncoming traffic, where drivers managed to avoid it.

Todd was treated at EASTAR Health System and released. Roberts was transported to a Tulsa hospital, according to an EASTAR spokeswoman. No condition was available for him Tuesday night.

Roberts and Todd were members of the American Legion in Muskogee, said Keith Welch, another Patriot Guard Rider. They were two of five men from Muskogee who made the ride, Welch said.

“Group riding is different,” Welch said. “It’s stressful.”

The memorial eventually made it to Sequoyah High School Tuesday afternoon, where it will be displayed at the school’s football field through Sunday.

“The Cherokee Nation and Sequoyah High School are proud to host the Dignity Vietnam Memorial Wall. Hosting the memorial is a very special occasion for the Cherokee people, and especially for me,” said Deputy Chief Joe Crittenden, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, in a media release.

The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The replica, which has the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died or are missing in Vietnam, travels across the country every year.

At the end of this tour, it will be permanently installed at Fort Benning, Ga., at the Vietnam War Museum, according to a media release.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.

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