JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – Witnesses tell police that the teenager, who killed a Jackson bank manager while riding his motorcycle, was texting when the crash occurred.
William "Bill" Lofton was killed last Wednesday on Raymond Road.
One week later members of the Jackson chapter of The Friends of the Fallen Riders and dozens of motorcycle clubs rode in a procession to the visitation for their fellow rider.
Before taking off they held a No Phone Zone campaign to urge motorists not to text or use the phone while driving.
The 45 year old died August 25th while riding his Honda.
Police said he was struck by a 16 year old driving an SUV.
Witnesses told investigators the girl was texting when she hit Lofton.
Helen Brown is the president of the Jackson chapter The Friends of Fallen Riders.
She met Lofton at a June event held by the organization.
"This is our hobby, but we own the road too, not only the people in cars. Please respect us. But you know some of us are losing our lives due to people texting and driving," said Brown.
More than 100 riders, in clubs and as individuals, gathered to honor the Jackson bank branch manager.
Many never met him.
"I didn't know the man, but I've got a lot of love and respect for him because he was a biker. I was sick because I had just watched another accident up on Bailey Avenue. a guy had gotten smashed on a motorcycle by a car," said rider Anthony Epps of Jackson.
"I put 15,000 miles a year on my bike, and I feel most vulnerable in the cities. I feel the safest on the interstate," said rider Henry LaRose of Jackson who joined the riders who met at the intersection of Briarwood Drive and State Street.
LaRose also said the fatal crash will haunt the 16 year old driver for the rest of her life.
A sentiment echoed by Lofton's friend Victor Mason.
"Teenagers let this be a lesson to you," warned Mason.
The Hinds County law enforcement officer said the two had been close for 25 years.
He described the Clarksdale native as having a passion for helping people and enjoying the relaxation of riding his motorcycle.
Mason said he may have been one of the last people to see his friend alive.
"I sat with him for about two and a half hours laughing about everything and I said ‘Well look I'll see you tomorrow' and he said ok. And what happened was when I got home one of the ladies at the bank called me and was just crying," said Mason.
The law officer was also Lofton's Masonic Lodge brother and among the hundreds who attended the visitation Wednesday at Lakeover Memorial Funeral Home.
Mourners hope Lofton's tragic death will prevent others from texting or phoning while driving.
Bill Lofton is survived by two daughters ages 24 and 17.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson.
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