CLEARFIELD — The death of an Ogden motorcyclist in a Clearfield traffic crash last week is a grim punctuation mark to a trend of increasing rider injuries, including 44 fatalities in Utah last year.
Clearfield Police Chief Kelly Bennett said Wednesday that detectives still are looking for a driver who may have been involved in the incident that killed Steven Neal Briggs on Friday.
Detectives are reviewing surveillance video in the effort to locate the other driver and reconstruct how the crash occurred.
A car may have turned in front of Briggs as he drove through an intersection, Bennett said. The driver “may not even know there was an accident. We are reviewing that.”
Briggs, 47, was eastbound on 1700 South at about 2 p.m. Friday when the car turned left toward Main Street, a police news release said. Briggs attempted to avoid a collision but his motorcycle collided head-on with another westbound car, which then struck Briggs while he was on the ground.
The first car did not stop, and police are seeking any information about it from the public. It was described as a small, silver four-door SUV.
Bennett said that if the investigation determines any of the other drivers were at fault, possible charges will be screened with prosecutors.
According to Zero Fatalities, a public outreach program operated by the Utah Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety, there were a record 258 motorcycle crashes with injuries in 2020. The number of fatalities, 44, was the third-highest in the past 10 years.
Friends and family of Briggs have posted a GoFundMe page to help pay for the Army veteran’s funeral expenses.
Daniel Chacon, of Riverdale, who described himself as one of Briggs’ best friends, said the two shared a love of trucking and motorcycle riding. They both were truckers.
“We would ride all the time and talk all the time,” Chacon said. “He was the type of person who would give the shirt off his back and was the friendliest guy. If he didn’t have something in common with you he would find something.”
Chacon said Briggs just bought one of his brothers a Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle.
Briggs was a frequent attendee at the usual Friday night meets at Cycle Gear in Riverdale, Chacon said.
“Friday night, I went there and let everyone know what happened,” Chacon said. “All the cycles started their engines and revved them in memory of him.”
Sherrie Wilkinson called Briggs, her older brother, “an amazing man,” someone who “makes sure everyone else is taken care of first.”
Briggs dreamed of having a family but did not marry and had no children, Wilkinson said, and in the meantime “he had an awesome impact on so many people’s lives.”
“He would make you laugh and smile even if he was going through hell inside,” she said.
Briggs was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and will be buried there. A viewing is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Myers Mortuary, 845 Washington Blvd. in Ogden, Chacon said.
At 7:15 a.m. Saturday outside Cycle Gear,, Chacon said fellow riders will meet to follow the hearse to Pocatello. That hearse will be Briggs’ semi truck, Wilkinson said.
“He was an owner-operator and almost had that semi paid off,” she said.
Chacon said he often rides with his 73-year-old father and his brother. As Briggs did, they all know the risks, Chacon said.
“It’s terrifying,” he said. “I’m always on the fence. I’m constantly keeping them (cars) in my view. I’m looking around at everything — my eyes are not set on one area.”
And Chacon has a suggestion for parents: Teach your children to count motorcycles, rather than purple cars or other vehicles, during trips.
“When they’re driving themselves, that will be built into their minds,” he said. “Just keep an eye out. It could be one of your own loved ones in that situation.”
In Clearfield, there’s a lot more traffic right now because of drivers trying to avoid Interstate 15 construction, Bennett said.
“More than ever, slow down” and watch for motorcycles, Bennett said. “And we worry — it’s springtime.”