Advertisement
  1. Tampa

The two bikers involved in fatal I-4 crash were friends, victim's family says

The men, both from Riverview, had been traveling east on Interstate 4 on Friday at about 3:30 p.m. when their bikes collided, sending one of them over the side of the overpass.
Where the accident occurred on Interstate 4.
Where the accident occurred on Interstate 4.
Published Feb. 16, 2019

TAMPA — Before Friday, Eric Jordan and Aaron Davis were just two friends who enjoyed the road.

"They were just out riding around, two inexperienced motorcycle riders," said Roger Lavalley, 49, Jordan's uncle. "And an accident happened."

The men, both from Riverview, had been traveling east on Interstate 4 that day at about 3:30 p.m. when their bikes collided.

Jordan, 35, was thrown from his Yamaha over the side of the interstate and fell 100 feet to the ground, onto N 50th Street, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. He later died from his injuries at Tampa General Hospital.

Davis, 29, pulled over his Kawasaki and looked down from the overpass, as shown in a recording of the incident circulating on social media Saturday. Then he left the scene, state troopers said, leaving behind his female passenger, 30-year-old Amy Renee Jones of Dover, who told troopers that she "barely knew" the man.

The Highway Patrol called the incident a hit-and-run because Davis left. Troopers had been asking the public to help find him before investigators identified him and he contacted them. But Lavalley doesn't think Davis is a villain, and he doesn't think the collision was intentional.

"They were real good friends. It wasn't road rage or anything like that," Lavalley said.

He added, "I don't think Aaron should get 100 percent of the blame."

That's because both Davis and Jordan were weaving through traffic that afternoon, the footage spreading online shows. As the two bikes got to the right lane on Interstate 4, Jordan appeared to clip the back tire of Davis' motorcycle, which sent Jordan toward the wall and over the side.

Friends of both men emphasized on social media that the incident appeared to have been an accident. Jordan had only been riding motorcycles for about a year, Lavalley said. He may have been taking after his father, Billy Jordan, who was Lavalley's brother. Lavalley said the elder Jordan rode motorcycles before he died in 2012.

Lavalley described his nephew as a polite, good-natured man. He found it hard to say much more so soon after the crash, especially because he had taught Jordan as a boy how to ride a bicycle, he said.

"He knew the dangers," Lavalley said of his nephew taking up motorcycle riding. "But that slips away once you get out riding, having fun."

As of Saturday night, Davis hadn't been arrested. But troopers said he could face charges for leaving the scene.

Times senior researcher Caryn Baird and staff writers Howard Altman and Jamal Thalji contributed to this report. Contact Justin Trombly at jtrombly@tampabay.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. After nearly four decades of operating a restaurant on Fourth Avenue in Ybor City, Cephas Gilbert has a new location. He now runs a juice hut inside Tequilas Ybor in Tampa.
  2. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister has filed for re-election. He's held a kickoff and made public appearances, and he’s heavily courted Democrats in a county the Republican sheriff acknowledges is trending Democratic. [CHRIS URSO | Times]
  3. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  4. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  5. Suzi Goodhope of Havana, Fla., and Shiraz, an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, are helping in the search for an African American cemetery forgotten somewhere on the grounds of MacDill Air Force Base. Goodhope trains human-remains detection dogs in Havana, Fla.
  6. A courthouse regular snapped this image of a llama, named Thaddeus, as the animal strode past the Hillsborough County courthouse Monday. The llama's visit to Tampa became a social media sensation.
  7. Outback Steakhouse at 4302 W. Boy Scout Blvd. near International Plaza and Bay Street. [Monique Welch | Times]
  8. Michael Keetley, a former ice cream truck driver accused of shooting a group of men in 2010 in Ruskin, sits in court during his trial.
  9. Express Parcel Service says is plans to shut down its operations at the Amazon distribution station at 9900 18th Street N in St. Petersburg, as well as in Tampa, Miami, Fort Myers and Palmetto. (Google street view)
  10. Luis Espel, 22, uses the Cass Street bike lane to commute to work in Tampa. Times (2019)
  11. Justin Callahan, 34, from St. Pete, looks out to the water as the sunrises on a crips morning at North Shore Park on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement