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One dead after motorcyclists collide on U.S. 19

TARPON SPRINGS — If you ask anyone in the local cadre of motorcyclists in New Port Richey, they'd tell you James Perrini was one of their brothers.

"He'd take the shirt off his back if you needed it," said friend and colleague Andrew Mackay.

Perrini, owner of Chickies Pub and a member of the Suncoast Brotherhood Biker Rights Group, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Tarpon Springs late Tuesday night.

According to friends, the 68-year-old motorcyclist was returning from a friend's birthday celebration at Stix Billiards in Palm Harbor with three other motorcyclists, who also were injured in the crash.

Perrini was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police are not releasing the names of the injured due to an ongoing investigation. Authorities suspect that the accident may be alcohol-related.

A 38-year-old man and 41-year-old woman, riding a 2004 Harley-Davidson, were critically injured and taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

On Wednesday afternoon the man was in critical condition and the woman in serious condition.

An unidentified 50-year-old man from Dunedin, also riding a 2004 Harley-Davidson, suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

Police said the crash happened about 11:17 p.m. Tuesday in the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 near Tookes Road in Tarpon Springs. Perrini struck the rear of the motorcycle operated by the man from Dunedin. The crash then caused the operator of the third motorcycle to lose control and both occupants were thrown off the bike.

None of the motorcyclists were wearing helmets.

Megan Walling, a bartender at Chickies who has known Perrini for seven years, said that besides his dedication to the biker community, he loved to help children.

Mackay echoed her thoughts.

"Toy runs, benefits, you name it," he said. "Every week."

Perrini would often host charity events at Chickies. Most recently, he hosted a fundraiser for Horse Connections, a therapeutic horsemanship program for people with disabilities.

Mackay said the mood at the bar was somber Wednesday.

"He's one missed man," he said.

One dead after motorcyclists collide on U.S. 19 03/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:48pm]
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