Saturday, November 18, 2017 Elyria 43°


Motorcyclist dies in Amherst Township crash


AMHERST TWP. — An hour after motorcyclist Charles Smith died around 10:15 p.m. Thursday, fellow motorcyclist Eddie Sabbah still found his friend’s death hard to believe.

Sabbah said he was eastbound on Telegraph Road (state Route 113) riding next to Smith between Bechtel Road and West Ridge Road, and they had just passed a woman in a Mercury Sable when Smith lost control of his motorcycle and collided with the Sable.

Sabbah said he suddenly lost sight of Smith, so he stopped after a short distance. Sabbah said he saw Smith lying on his back in the middle of the road about 10 yards from Smith’s motorcycle, which lay on the south shoulder of the road.

Sabbah said he made a U-turn and rode back to Smith.

“I looked at him and called his name like three or four times, and he looked at me and kind of had a little smile on is face and closed his eyes back again,” Sabbah said.

Sabbah said Smith, 48, of the 300 block of East Avenue in Elyria, had a heart condition, which Sabbah said may have contributed to his death. Sgt. Chris Midkiff of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Elyria post said Smith drifted right and his motorcycle slid onto its side for about 20 yards before Smith was thrown from it. Smith rolled about 20 yards before being struck by the Sable.

The Sable, which was driven by Rita D. Nelson, 54, of Elyria, stopped about 100 yards east of where the collision occurred and had a dent in the front driver’s side bumper and a cracked front bumper. Midkiff said Nelson was shaken up but uninjured.

Sabbah said he and Smith and a few other bikers were coming back from a poker run in which participants pick up cards at each bar they stop at and the person with the winning hand at the end of the run wins a prize. However, Sabbah said neither he or Smith were drinking.

Sabbah, who said he had known Smith since 1993, said Smith was a member of the Iron Coffins MC, a Toledo-based motorcycle club, and a father of three daughters. Sabbah said Smith was formerly a factory worker who had been receiving Social Security disability payments in recent years and had lived alone after getting divorced about seven years ago.

Sabbah and Peggy Proctor, who said she had known Smith since 2007, described him as a loyal friend who would give Proctor’s daughter rides to the store when her mother couldn’t and kept an eye on Sabbah’s motorcycle when it was parked outside Sabbah’s home.

“He was a good friend to have,” Sabbah said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or

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