Friends gather to remember fallen 17-year-old motorcyclist
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Friends and motorcyclists from all over Victoria gathered at a memorial Thursday evening in remembrance of the teen killed in a motorcycle-truck collision Wednesday.
Patrick A. Locher, 17, was killed after his motorcycle collided with a truck at the intersection of Loop 463 and Airline Road early in the evening.
The mood was somber as attendees prayed and shared stories of better times as the last rays of sun beamed down upon the colorful array of vrooming motorcycles that Locher, by all accounts, loved so much.
"We take this to heart as a motorcycle dealership," said Eric Mercer, owner of Velocity Powersports. "We lost a member of our family."
He continued, "He did everything right. He did everything a motorcycle rider was supposed to do. He just came out on the short end."
From details provided by the Victoria Police Department, Locher was doing everything correctly at the time of his death.
At 6:15 p.m., Locher was traveling east on Loop 463 when he was struck by a blue Mitsubishi truck that was attempting to make a left turn onto Loop 463 from Airline Road, said Victoria Police Sgt. Erica Padilla.
Padilla said the Mitsubishi, possibly in a failed attempt to avoid the motorcycle, then struck a green Chevrolet truck that was stopped at the stop sign on Loop 463 waiting to turn left onto Airline Road.
The Mitsubishi had three female occupants. Police have not yet identified the driver of the truck.
Locher's loved ones shared their thoughts about the accident.
"When you are on the bike and are about to go down, you get this terrible feeling, but there's nothing you can do," said 18-year-old Sam Hastings, who knew Locher for the last two years.
Hastings said he knew what his friend was most likely feeling right before the impact because he experienced a serious accident himself not too long ago.
"It was totally preventable if the driver had been paying attention. Someone took away a friend of ours because they were careless," he said.
Despite the potential danger associated with motorcycles, Jared Slaughter said his best friend since infancy had been riding motorbikes for most of his life.
Slaughter, 17, said he and Locher first started riding together around age 8.
Although Slaughter later branched out into motocross competitions, he said Locher was content just riding with their group of friends at least once a month at area motocross tracks.
When Locher got his new Yamaha, Slaughter said his friend was overjoyed.
"He just loved to ride," he said.
In addition to riding motorcycles, Locher had many other things going on his life.
A longtime Boy Scout, Locher was scheduled to receive his Eagle Scout pin on Thursday morning.
Co-workers described Locher as a hard worker and good employee.
Dean Chinowith, Locher's former co-worker at Rapid Car Wash, recalled the time he and his friend spent together at work.
"He was hilarious. He was the type of person who was always willing to work," said 18-year-old Chinowith.
When he was not at work, friends said Locher could be found at the basketball court, at Velocity Powersports, wakeboarding or just participating in something adventurous.
Travis Hessler said Locher, aka "Pat Pat," was more than ready to take on a new adventure - his senior year at Victoria East High School.
"This was going to be our year to just do whatever. It was our senior year, so we were probably going to do just about everything," said Hessler, who had spent most of Wednesday with Locher working on his uncle's ranch in Edna.
He would have started his senior year at Victoria East on Monday.
Hessler said his best friend had dreams of becoming a diesel mechanic.
"Thank you for always being there for me and being a good friend. We will miss you very much," Hessler said.
Known for his friendly, warm and all around good-guy nature, Locher touched people he did not even know personally.
"It's like an unspoken brotherhood," said 24-year-old Brice Leach, who said he knew of Locher because of their love of motorcycles.
A group of riders planned to meet in the parking of Spec's Liquors and have one last ride for Locher on Thursday evening to remember one of their fallen riders.
"It's like one of our brothers died," said Hastings, who was preparing to participate in the group ride.
Before the bikers departed, Mercer left the riders with one last resonating message for Locher and the others injured in the accident.
"We lift Patrick up in prayer, his family up in prayer and those girls up in prayer," he said. "The best time to pray is while you are on your bike. There's nobody else to talk to."