Nfld. & Labrador

Hundreds turn out for motorcycle memorial to rider killed in Topsail Road crash

On a sunny Saturday in downtown St. John's leather jackets, revving engines and a whole lot of chrome filled the street.

Ride to honour Chad Pitcher considered one of the biggest ever in N.L.

Hundreds of motorcycle riders turned out to remember Chad Pitcher. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

It's a sunny Saturday in downtown St. John's, and the streets are filled with leather jackets, revving engines, and a whole lot of chrome.

On one of the finest days of the year so far, hundreds of motorcyclists showed up to pay tribute to one of their own: Chad Pitcher, who was killed in a crash last month. 

"Chad's our buddy, man," said Rough Kutz rider Ken Paul. "I'm gonna keep his memory alive."

Pitcher rode with the same club, and Paul remembers him as "the best guy you'll ever meet."

"On a scale of one to 10, he's a 15."

Chad Pitcher was a member of Rough Kutz Motorcycle Club and fellow rider Ken Paul said the turnout was 'overwhelming.' (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Pitcher was riding his motorcycle on May 11 when he stopped at a red light on Topsail Road in St. John's and was struck by a black Kia SUV driven by 25-year old Johnny Roberts, who had fled from police.

Pitcher was killed by the impact.

The province's serious-incident response team is overseeing the RCMP investigation into the multi-vehicle crash.

As tributes poured in, local motorcyclists decided to take it further, to honour Pitcher by doing what he loved, to raise money for his wife and three kids, and to create awareness so it doesn't happen again.

"What happened was a senseless act," co-organizer Don Drew said.

"These people are all Chad's, everyone here — man, woman and child — is a Chad out on our bikes every day. We go home to our family, but Chad didn't."

Father of three Pitcher, 44, was killed in a multi-vehicle collision on Topsail Road in mid-May. (GoFundMe)

Riders left downtown St. John's, headed by the crash site, and then past Pitcher's house so his family could watch. 

Drew estimates more than 1,000 riders took part in the event, which he said "is probably the biggest ride that's ever been put together in Newfoundland."

"We were expecting a couple of hundred bikes. We weren't expecting anything like this."

It raised nearly $10,000 before it even began.

Motorcycle rider Don Drew helped organize the event for Pitcher. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Drew, who knew Pitcher from other motorcycle rides to raise money for various charities, said it's a fitting tribute.  

"He was a very big strong man. Very quiet. He loved his wife, he loved biking, he loved the biking community, but his family came first," said Drew. 

"Our hearts go out to them."

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