We don’t understand Robeson County’s fascination with motorcycles, but there is no denying it. We love our big bikes — the wind-in-the-hair freedom they offer, and all the dangers that are accessories.
Motorcycles introduce an interesting dichotomy about the laws that govern our highways. While it is against the law for a person to get inside a reinforced cage — a vehicle — without buckling up a seat belt, riding a motorcycle without any protection except a helmet — which is hardly any protection at all — is OK.
On Sunday, one of Lumberton’s finest, police Officer Duane Hunter, died when his motorcycle crashed and he was thrown from it and into a road sign. There is no indication that Hunter did anything wrong. According to the state Highway Patrol report, he entered a curve at about 45 mph, well below the 55-mph speed limit, and somehow lost control, and from there he had little chance. We know he died doing something he loved because that is the affair motorcyclists have with their bikes.
It is the second time since July 17, the day Jeremiah Goodson, a police officer until the end, was murdered, that the Lumberton Police Department has mourned the loss of one of its own.
Then as now, the Lumberton Police Department and the community embraced the dead police officer’s family, and rallied to meet the needs that could be met. Tragedy has a way of inspiring the best among us.
Police Chief Mike McNeill was effusive in his praise of the 53-year-old Hunter, who worked as a detective.
“He is a guy that had passion for law enforcement,” McNeill said. “He didn’t stop with mandatory training. Any kind of update or training that came up, he would always take it and then teach everyone else. He wasn’t just a 9 to 5 police officer. I’ve never seen a guy so locked into law enforcement as this guy was. He always did things right, always followed the rules.”
As was the case in the aftermath of Goodson’s death, we are left to wonder why. When Goodson was shot to death by a punk coward, we were reminded of the evil in this world, and how quickly it can develop, even among our children.
The death of Hunter — as well as two other people who died on this county’s highways last weekend — reminds us all how fleeting this life is, how it should be cherished and honored, and how dangerous are highways are.
Our condolences to all.