Popular biker/corrections officer killed in motorcycle crash - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Popular biker/corrections officer killed in motorcycle crash

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The island's latest traffic fatality incident was a motorcycle spill in Maite. The victim was a veteran biker and veteran corrections officer.

"This morning around 7:54 officers received a call of a motorcycle spill on Route 8 in front of the First Hawaiian Bank. The operator of the motorcycle lost control," said Officer AJ Balajadia, spokesman for the Guam Police Department.   

The victim has been identified as 43-year-old Franklin Juarez Garcia III.   

According to GPD, Garcia was rushed to Naval Hospital in nearby Agana Heights and pronounced dead within the half hour.   

"Guam Highway Patrol had the road closed off for a few hours while they conducted their investigation," he said.

Fellow rider Joe San Agustin says Garcia's sudden passing marks a great loss to the biking community.

"It was unfortunate what happened this morning. My fellow brother biker Frank Garcia is a good guy. He's a fellow law enforcement officer. And condolences to the family," he shared with KUAM News.

When he wasn't riding, he was doing his part to protect the people of Guam.

For the last 16 years Garcia served the island as a corrections officer.

Since 2012 however, Garcia was detailed to the Marianas Fusion Center located at the Office of Civil Defense Homeland Security. The Fusion Center plays a critical role in receiving, gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information relative to threats to the region.   

DepCor deputy director Carla Borja said, "He was a great officer. An inspirational officer. Friend to many here. The director, myself, and the department are deeply saddened by his loss. We offer our condolences to the family and we await further information as to his burial."

While the community mourns his passing, witnesses on scene confirm Garcia wasn't wearing a helmet.

"We have no indication that the operator was using a helmet at the time of the crash," said Officer Balajadia.

Whether bikers should be required to wear helmets on the road has been a long standing debate. Here on Guam, Public Law 32-52 introduced by Senator Tommy Morrison, requires any new motorcycle operator to wear an approved type of safety helmet while bikers licensed prior have been grandfathered in.

Morrison, who also lost a brother to a motorcycle accident, says he will continue to work closely with the motorcycle community to educate and raise further awareness on the importance of safety gear combined with defensive driving education.

For San Agustin who testified against the law, riders should have the choice. In his opinion, helmets aren't the problem.

San Agustin speculates Garcia's passing was a result of him trying to avoid a bigger accident.

"The reason bikes, motorcycles have spills is to avoid accidents. That's the only reason why," he said.

San Agustin reminds motorists to share the road and be mindful of the two-wheelers on the streets.

"What happened this morning is unfortunate but we also have to understand that us bikers we don't worry about as much about the road conditions, we worry more about other motorists out there," he said.

Garcia's autopsy was completed early Friday afternoon. According to the island's chief medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola, Garcia sustained a severe skull fracture with no other injuries.

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