A 36-year-old motorcyclist died Monday afternoon after hitting a pothole on Reeves Avenue in Riverhead and losing control of his bike, Riverhead Town police said.
David DeCarle of Aquebogue was heading east shortly before 4:30 p.m. when he was thrown from the motorcycle, police said. He was transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries, officials said.
Mr. DeCarle, formerly of Cutchogue, was a cook on the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry and member of the local chapter of the Road Reapers Motorcycle Club, said fellow member LJ James.
He had a wife, Ksenia, and baby boy, Desmond.
“He worked a lot of hours to take care of this wife and newborn boy,” Mr. James said. “He worked and he rode his bike for fun. It was his form of relaxation. He liked to ride.”
“He was great member of the club,” Mr. James continued. “He was a big man but never a bully. He was always friendly. He always had a smile. He was always looking to help people. He was a gentle giant.”
Mr. James also said that only a few days ago, Mr. DeCarle was cautioning other club members about the roads.
“He was saying to tell everyone to be careful out there,” he said. “He was saying to watch the roads; the roads are really bad. So you know he was being safe.”
As of about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, there was no sign of the crash on Reeves Avenue, though two construction barrels book-ended about a quarter-mile stretch of badly damaged roadway between Roanoke Avenue and Doctors Path.Potholes could be found throughout the strip of two-lane roadway between Roanoke and Doctors.
Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said the string of winter storms and prolonged cold had caused potholes on roadways across the town and beyond. The recent rainy weather has also made it difficult to fix them.
“Potholes are popping up like black ice out of nowhere,” Mr. Woodson said. “It is almost impossible to patch when it rains. When it is wet the [patch] materials wash right back out [of the potholes.]”
Mr. Woodson said the highway department has been focusing on higher traffic areas, such as Sound Avenue and other main roads. Workers are expected to begin filling the potholes again after the rain subsides Tuesday afternoon, he said.
The Riverhead chapter of the Road Reapers is one of four in the U.S. The others are in Virginia and Minnesota.
All the members try to get to know one another, Mr. James said. The chapters will be banding together to help Mr. DeCarle’s surviving family.
“As club members, we talk to each other every day,” Mr. James said. “All the chapters are heartbroken right now. He has brothers from all over and everyone is devastated.”
Mr. James said Mr. DeCarle’s 1-year-old son “was his pride and joy.”
“I just spoke to him the other day; he was very happy,” he said. “He was getting a lot of things together. Long Island’s very expensive for all of us, but he was just paying things off. The club is going to do whatever we can to make sure his wife and child are taken care of.”
A fundraiser is already being planned among members for this Friday.
Any concerned members of the public outside the club can visit its Facebook page at Road Reapers MC Riverhead Crew for updates on how to help, Mr. James said.
Investigators are asking anyone who might have witnessed the accident to contact the Riverhead police at 631-727-4500.
Caption: Police tape hangs from a stop sign the morning after the crash. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)