Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four motorcyclists killed in Sumter accident

BUSHNELL — Four motorcyclists who had just left an afternoon gathering of friends were killed Saturday night when their bikes were struck head-on by a truck attempting to pass another vehicle.

The wreck occurred shortly before 7 p.m. along County Road 476 near County Road 629, Florida Highway Patrol investigators said.

Killed instantly in the crash were William Barker, 54, of Stuart, his passenger, Patrice Poole, 55, of Mount Dora and John Holmes, 55, of Beverly Hills. Holmes' passenger, Patricia Beihayn, 52, of Hernando, in Citrus County, was flown to Tampa General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to the FHP, Paul Sermons, 45, of Bushnell was driving his 1991 GMC pickup west on County Road 476 and was passing another vehicle when he realized the oncoming motorcycles were closer than he thought. Unable to slow in time, he struck both, ejecting all four riders, one of whom was thrown into the windshield of the vehicle Sermons was trying to pass.

Sermons suffered minor injuries in the crash, as did the driver of the other truck, Melissa Pike, 27, of Floral City and her passenger, Michael Rogers, 30. All were treated at the scene, according to the FHP.

State records show that Sermons' driver's license was suspended at the time of the accident.

Murray Rush, a friend of the motorcyclists, said he had known Barker and Holmes since childhood growing up in Clearwater. He had invited them and about 80 other longtime friends to what he called the "21 Year Salute," a daylong barbecue hosted at a mutual friend's property.

Barker, Holmes and their companions stayed for a few hours.

"We were talking about doing (the pig roast) again next year," Rush said. "That's what's so sad about it."

The FHP said the crash remains under investigation.

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

Four motorcyclists killed in Sumter accident 03/15/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 10:18am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New Safety Harbor post office will be on McMullen-Booth Road

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — Although a move-in date is months away, representatives for the U.S. Postal Service recently signed the lease for the city's new post office.

    In June of next year a new post office will open at the site of a former Fifth Third Bank branch at 1703 N  McMullen Booth Road, Safety Harbor.
  2. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  3. Shania Twain arena tour includes Tampa stop this time


    Shania Twain is coming to Tampa as part of a major U.S. tour in support of her forthcoming (and long-awaited) new album Now.

    Shania Twain will play Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2018.
  4. In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave an ultimatum Wednesday to people who want to move a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa: Raise the money yourselves or it stays. They had 30 days.

    It took 24 hours.

    Private money is flowing in to help move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Who are the antifa?


    On Monday, President Donald Trump capitulated to the popular demand that he distance himself from his comment that "many sides" were to blame in Charlottesville by explicitly denouncing white nationalism. "Racism is evil," he appeared to grudgingly concede, "including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

    A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rest Saturday during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Counterprotesters in Charlottesville came united against white supremacy, but they advocated a wide array of beliefs, tactics and goals. [Edu Bayer | New York Times]