Duane Allman Crash From The Truck Drivers Wife

Discussion in 'The Cellar' started by captainbraindamage, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. captainbraindamage

    captainbraindamage V.I.P. Member

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    planks, Harpozep, Benjammin and 4 others like this.
  2. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    interesting story
     
  3. QuicksilverSS

    QuicksilverSS Senior Member

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    I always heard he was decapitated....:shock:
     
  4. Benjammin

    Benjammin Senior Member

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    "the wrong place at the wrong time"
     
  5. BigDaveOnBass

    BigDaveOnBass Junior Member

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    Hi folks! New poster here, and I'm a basser, but I'm a huge Allman Brothers Band fan. I got a heads up about a thread on a Duane Allman owned 62 SG, and while I was on the site, I did a search and found this thread.

    First off, the story about Chuck Wertz as told by his widow is absolutely 100% authentic. He was driving the truck that Duane swerved to avoid hitting. But there are a lot of misconceptions about his death I'd like to comment on.

    First, it was a crane/boom truck Chuck was driving. It was not a peach truck, as legend has it. As best as I have heard from folks who were close to the situation, Duane was perhaps traveling a little over the posted speed limit. The truck was coming in the opposite direction and made a left turn, several hundered feet before Duane was on top of him. The truck had to slow down due to a large pothole in the street he was turning onto. Duane went around the truck to the left. He either went slightly airborn due to a hump in the road and lost control, or he may have made contact with a hydrant on the corner of the intersection of the two streets he was going through. Either way, he lost control, and he and the bike began tumbling. The bike went airborn and landed on top of him, causing multiple internal injuries. He had no apparent external wounds to his head or body. He was alive when taken to the hospital and died on the operating table after three hours of unsuccessful emergency surgery. The doctor who attempted to save his life has said he had at least three severe internal injuries, and any one of them could have proved fatal on it's own. Keep in mind Duane was of a slight build. He was around 5'9" and may have weighed 125 pounds soaking wet. Chuck Wertz was cleared of any wrongdoing in the wreck. It was a horrible set of circumstances that happened all at once, Chuck having to slow during the turn, and Duane exceding the speed limit.

    The whole Eat A Peach thing was taken from an interview Duane did once. The interviewer asked Duane what he was doing for the "revolution." (Keep in mind this was during the Viet Nam war and there was the whole anti-war and counter culture movement going strong at the time.) Duane resonded, "Man! There's no revolution! Only evolution! Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace!" So, the album title, Eat A Peach, has nothing to do with the circumstances of Duane's death, but everything to do with Duane and how he lived his life.

    Duane and Les Paul guitars will forever be linked. He could make those things sing! Rock on!
     
  6. captainbraindamage

    captainbraindamage V.I.P. Member

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    The thread that I linked to goes on for like 14 pages and I read the first 8. Many of the facts as stated by BigDave are also brought out in the thread, and other things he didn't. Like that he lost his helmet in the crash, because he didn't like the straps on it so he might have cut them off. Duanes bike had 6 over tubes on it with no rake, making it harder to control. ( I can vouch for the harder to control, I had 10 over on my bike.) One by someone that had talked to the owner of Macon Harley, that they had parted out Duanes bike after the crash. By page 8 it goes the way of most threads with not much to do with the original post. I'll have to take the time to sift through the remaining posts to see what info they hold just for my own curiosity.
     
  7. QuicksilverSS

    QuicksilverSS Senior Member

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    Yea,those bikes area bitch to ride. Even the properly raked ones are scary to me.
     
  8. jomo

    jomo V.I.P. Member

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    Gotta be careful on choppers for sure. I respect my bike a lot, and I hope to never be in a situation like Duane was, but all I can do is be as aware as possible.
    [​IMG]
    RIP Duane
     
  9. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Not being up on things Cycle related can you explain what this means...


    (ps. welcome to MLP Bigdave...i know you from the ABB/hittin the note site:wave:)
     
  10. captainbraindamage

    captainbraindamage V.I.P. Member

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    The 6 over tubes means the front end tubes, with the front wheel on one end and the motorcycle on the other, and 6 inches over stock length. Rake is where, on a bike with a extended front end, you take a cutting torch and make a cut between the neck and the frame. Bend it to the correct degree for the extended front end and then weld a piece of metal in the gap created. This will lower the bike to where it should be. If you put on a longer front end and don't rake it, it makes the bike higher in the front and raises your center of gravity.

    Picture of a bike with 10 over tubes and no rake. The bottom of the frame should be parallel with the ground.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. LJGriggs

    LJGriggs Senior Member

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    I have driven down that stretch of Hillcrest Ave about a zillion times... When I was in high school (back in the early 70's) we would haul ass in our cars down the hill on Hillcrest and when you hit the cross street (Bartlett) you would definitly get some lift like a riding a roller coaster. Hillcrest eventually runs into Napier Ave near where Berry Oakley had his accident about a year after Duane...
     
  12. BigDaveOnBass

    BigDaveOnBass Junior Member

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    Chasen, good to see you here!

    Larry, your name is familiar. I think we have mutual friends, either online or in Macon, or both.

    JoMo, that's a nice lookin' chop you got. What model did it start life as?

    I ride an '04 Road Glide. I had an '80 FXWG when I bought the RG, but when my oldest daughter got on the insurance policy, I came to realize I had too many vehicles. One of the bikes had to go, and I went with the one I could get on and go without worry.

    Capt.B.D., what did you wind up doing with your chopper? Looks like an FXEF.

    I've spent some time with Kim Payne, one of the original ABB road crew, and he told me Duane's Sportster had 6 over tubes done by Forking by Frank. Kim bought a Triumph chopper from Duane and was riding it one night late when he had a run in with the Macon PD, and an a$$hole cop shot him in the thigh for no good reason. Kim's dad was an AL law man and wasn't happy about his son getting shot. You'll notice Kim is sitting down on the back cover of the AFE album. That's because he was still recovering from the gun shot wound to his leg. The cop that shot Kim ended up crossing the line one too many times and wound up going to prison himself. Kim was riding with Berry Oakley when Oakley crashed a year after Duane. :(

    That ABB was a wild bunch. Duane was wide open, as were the rest of them. When you're 24 and your band is finally making it big, you think you're invincible. I wish I had a time machine. I'd go back and sabotage Duane's bike.
     
  13. captainbraindamage

    captainbraindamage V.I.P. Member

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    It got stolen back in 76. I knew who had it but not alot I could do about it, he had "friends". Taught me a valuable lesson, never mess with a married stripper. Was lucky I didn't get shot. It was a 1972 and I bought it in 73 for $1800. The owner was going in the joint the next day and I payed off the loan he had on it. AAHH the good ol days. Life is much simpler now.
     
  14. LJGriggs

    LJGriggs Senior Member

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    We may have some mutual friends... My family moved to Macon in Dec of 1969 when I was about 13. I migrated up to Hot'Lanta around 1977. I still have a few old "runnin' buddies" down in Macon. I don't get back there as much as I used to. I am planning on going back to Macon on Nov 22 for the Skydog63 event at Central City Park (to remember Duane's 63rd birthday). If you are going to be in town that weekend, check it out. Its a benefit for the Middle GA Food Bank so the admission fee is some canned goods... Skydog 63
     
  15. BigDaveOnBass

    BigDaveOnBass Junior Member

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    Larry, I didn't make it to Macon today, but I did yesterday. I rode the Glide down for a COC meeting at AP's Hideaway. I had too much stuff to do with the family to get down there again today.
     
  16. Windsinger

    Windsinger Junior Member

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    Dave's gonna skin me, for poking my nose, in here,.....:rolleyes:

    My arrival came about, solely, from a long cold day, hiding, inside, and getting bored enough, on the net, to, almost, exactly, 3 years, later, doing another, search for "Chuck Wertz"

    I think I've heard my name mentioned,.....sorta.
    Nothing, more to add, really.
    Except that Hillcrest, looked a LOT 'higher' to me, when I was learning to drive, in 1971, When 40 MPH was, to me, 'Fast' and unseattling.

    Hillcrest is zoned and posted, for 35 MPH

    The Macon, Police, told me, (the night of the accident) that Duane was "Going in excess, of 55 MPH, when he came down that hill, and lost control of his bike." They more or less said, that he'd gone airborn, to some degree, as best, they could, figure. They added that he "DEFINATELY, did NOT, hit the rear of that truck, at any point,..." They said they had gone over it, with a fine-tooth comb. and found no evidence, of Any, impact"

    As for the theory, of Duane having, having hit the fire hydrant, kitty-corner to the side of the road he'd come down,...the police, said, not a word, to us, about that.
     
  17. Windsinger

    Windsinger Junior Member

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    Dave,.....Duane COULDN't of clipped that fire hydrant, causing the accident.
    It's on the opposite corner of the intersection, from the side he, came down.
    I seem to recall seeing a photo, in "Skydog" that shows his bike having come to rest, in the neighborhood, of the hydrant, but that's a good clip, from that bit of a skii-ramp on Hillcrest, that Duane was comeing down (I went out there, last Spring, and took some pix, and went around, asking questions of some of the locals who still lived/worked in the area, involved.)

    Re. the loss of Duane's Helmet.
    Chuck, himself, told me, that when he'd managed to locate "The rider" of the bike he'd come to, first (and "Reached over, and turned the bike off, it was 'racing-like-crazy'") Chuck said that when he'd gotten to the rider, "he'd lost his helmet"

    When I was down in Macon, I talked to a man at the Lumber yard, just past where Chuck had been turning in. The guy said a buddy of his, worked at a place, where Duane had purchased, a new bike helmet. He said his friend, had sold Duane the helmet, but on his way out the door, Duane commented that he didn't like the chin strap on it,..and proceeded to cut the straps, off.

    The guy at the lumber yard, said he "didn't know, if that was the Same helmet Duane was wearing, the day of the accident,...but (he) sure would be curious, to find out"

    I'm sure Someone knows. The helmet, came off. Someone, Must have, retrieved, it.

    It's my understanding that, they don't just 'come off' unless they aren't fastened, to begin with (My older sister's husband, was killed, on his bike, when a woman ran a light, at an intersection. Cat's husband's helmet, was still, firmly, on, but the impact had been so great, that the Drs told Cathy, that the helmet, did the job, it was intended to do,....but (they don't make you bullet-proof)...He said the accident was simply, so bad, that, that it was actually a "Blessing he'd died,...otherwise, he would have spent the rest of his life, as a vegetable")

    From what I understand, about Duane's injuries, the loss of his helmet, made little difference, in the outcome.
     
  18. Windsinger

    Windsinger Junior Member

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    Darn. I WAS down in Macon, that weekend Over at Tobesofkee,....not far from the Hippi side of town/West side. We just went out to the rec. park on Sat. to hang out with friends for the day, then went back to our Motel room, next exit, down 475.

    Saturday, was PERFECT, ALL day, to be, outside.

    But Sunday morning, aroun 4 a.m.-ish, the heaven's opened up, and the rains came down,...hard, til about 11 a.m. (as we were checking out of our motel)
    That's when I found out, the temps, had, also, dropped, by a good, 20 degrees, from, the day, before.
    i.e. it was one cold. wet, day, to be trying to spend over at Central City Park.
    I hope there was a good turn-out, but man, what a rough day, to have it, on !
    (Our own, Tobesofkee, event, had a similar, 'canned goods' donated, to participate, in certain activities, on Sat.,......We're down there, twice a year,...April and Nov.)(It's camping, for the out-of-town folks,....but my guy and I, more or less, 'Camp' year round,....we opt for the motel room, these days, when in Macon,)(But I sure felt sorry, for our friends, when I awoke to the sound of the rain pelting down, Sunday,...)
     
  19. captainbraindamage

    captainbraindamage V.I.P. Member

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    Windsinger, welcome to MLP. I enjoyed reading the thread at the Allman Brothers forum. I must confess I didn't know much about the actual crash and learned alot. One thing I learned was nobody is 100% certain what happened to Duane and the bike after they landed from the jump coming off the hill.
    Which got me to thinking. I'm not sure how Duane had his bike set up, but it was stated it had an extended front end. On my bike, due to the extended front end, I didn't have a front brake on it. Everytime I had to hit the rear brake hard, it would lock up the rear wheel and the back end would slide around to the right and I would be sliding sideways. If Duanes bike did the same, after he came down and hit the brake, he would be sliding sideways with his right side facing frontwards. If there was any unevenness in the road it would have flipped him.
    Anyway, just another what if, among many.
    I enjoyed your reading your side of the story.
     
  20. Windsinger

    Windsinger Junior Member

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    Well, there was one, 'eye-witness'
    The guy in the vehicle, who was, behind Chuck's truck.
    But, as I understood, it, from the police, that night, the guy just verified, to them, that Chuck had sat there, patiently, waiting or the traffic coming down the hill, to clear, before he made his turn, into Bartlett. i.e contrary, to what I read in my friend's, brother's book, Chuck never 'Failed to yield, right-of-way' as was alluded to.

    As I'd stated, over at HTWWTABB, I hadn't spoken to anyone, abut the whole thing, in over 35 years or so. Hense my lady friend (MG) of 10-ish years,(at the time, ) knew nothing about my part in it's history, at the time, she knew her brother was working on his book. And I didn't know, of the book, OR her connection to it, until Sept/Oct. of '06. She wasn't at, the party, where all this came out, but, I Did see her, at the Christmas party, and talked to her, about it.

    She was, first, stunned, and then, all excited. Said she was SURE her brother, would want to talk to me,....
    She asked my permission, to give him my phone number (?) but I suggested she simply give him my e-mail, it would be a lot easier to make contact, and keep a written record, so there were no mis-understandings.

    Regardless,....at that point, I hadn't yet, seen/read his book, so I didn't know how accurate his facts were/weren't to the actual events that unfolded, that evening.

    That would put me, at a disadvantage in any exchange.

    Besides, I didn't know what good it would do to talk with him. The book was already published. The story he'd researched, and written, to the best of his ability, with the information, he'd been able, to gather, at the time, couldn't be changed by a 12th hour witness. It was done. right, or wrong, it was already into the public's hands, for judgement.

    She offered to loan me, her copy, but I declined it, saying I was sure the public library could furnish me with one, and easier to return. (she and I used to, for many years, travel in the same circles, but her interests had changed, and she'd started off on a successful, writing career, of her own, and we rarely ran into, each other, anymore,...)

    The library had a copy. I didn't read it all,...mostly/only, the parts where my husband's name and things attributed to him, were mentioned. In the meantime, I never heard from Scott. I was disturbed by his accounting. I understand he was reporting, with what ever information, he was able to gather, and That, some 35 years, old, when witnesses were difficult, to downright impossible, to locate. Perhaps, if he'd known of my close proximity (a local call, away) that chapter, of the book would have turned out differently. That was not, His, fault. As a writer, he had done the best he could, with the material he had, available.

    It only disturbs me, that he failed, to consider, when he proposed his theories, that if his theories, were correct, that Chuck should have been held, by the police, and charged.
    That he wasn't,....that he was merely interviewed, by the police, and then allowed to return home, to tell his family, with the promise that he would return, that evening, to the station, to hear the results of the investigation,......that he was allowed, to leave the scene, of the accident, at all,....

    Anyway,.....the police, Did investigate, that evening, and with the witness's statement (which was Surely, a matter of Public Record) Chuck was never charged with any kind of blame, for the accident. (Which Also should have been 'public record') It's been almost 3 years since I read Scott's book (I Do, have copies, of that chapter, here, somewhere)
    But the impression I was left with, was that he had stongly hinted, that Chuck, had been, to blame for it, by failing to yield right-of-way, and by not, 100%, clearing the intersection, before Duane reached it. The impression he created, was that the rear of the truck, was still, VERY much, out in the intersection. That's NOT true.

    They (the police) Did say, that yes, a portion of the truck, was still, in the intersection,...BUT,..."no more, than a (CAR) could have easily manuvered around, without going into the on-coming, lane". (and they added, that the truck, would have already cleared the road, before a car, going the speed limit, posted, had reached the intersection, so the issue of the truck not having totally cleared it, by the time of Duane's arrival to it, was a moot point. If a car, Could have manuevered, safely, around all that still occupied the road,...Duane's bike, would have had Zero, problems, avoiding it. i.e. the truck was not a real factor, to causing the accident, as was strongly hinted at, in the book.

    (Chuck had hit his brakes, the instant he'd heard, the crash)(so he had not pulled forward, any further) A guilty man, would have hit, the accelerator. Chuck's sudden stopping, was out of concern, for what-ever had happened, back in the intersection,..he HAD to 'stop' in order, to go back, and see if he could help, in any way.

    My mate was no saint. He had his faults. I won't try and pretend, otherwise.
    But he was one of those guys, you hear about, once in awhile, who simply CANNOT drive by, a stranded motorist on the highway, without stopping, to try, and offer, assistance,....be it, mechanical (he was pretty good with a wrench) or change a tire, or give a ride to a telephone. It was simply his nature. The greatfulness of the stranded motorist, was reward, enough, for him.

    He'd run back to help, if he could. A guilty man, wouldn't have.

    So, I found Scott's accounting, disturbing, in it's implied blame-laying.

    Yes, none of US were Really 'there' to know, what 'did' happen.
    But what I know, is closer to the facts, re. Chuck's part in it, than anyone else's, discussing it, could be. And I WAS 'there' to hear what the police had said, to Chuck and I, about it. And I WAS there, to hear what Chuck told me, when he walked in, that evening.

    No,...I'm not mad.
    It just saddens me, to KNOW, that far too often (and I'm JUST as guilty, as anyone else)
    That things we read, we accept, at face value, as 'truth'/facts, when, often, a writer will fill in, with their own theories, and those wind up, appearing, to also, be, facts.

    The facts around my house, are that Chuck's son, who I was pregnant with, at the time, in 1971 (who was later born, on Christmas Day, First child born, in Macon, that Day/Year) Chuck's son, grew up, as did Duane's daughter, without, a Dad. They both, had to go to school, and when asked "What does your Dad 'do' ?"
    They had to reply "Nuttin',...my Dad's Dead"
    It broke my heart, the first time my 6 year old son with the beautiful face, came home, from school, to tell me, about this. Adding "All the kids feel sorry for me,....I'm the Only kid, in the Whole school, who doesn't have, a Dad."

    My son went on, to make a hero, out of his missing Dad.
    He treasures, still, anything his dad ever touched/wore/owned.
    I fed his hungry mind, with any and every story I could remember, about his dad's existance,...and he soaked up my stories, like a sponge. Periodically, though, I reminded him, his dad wasn't perfect. He says, he Knows, that,....but his dad is still his only hero. My/our, son, recently married. I was stunned, to learn, his bride's BD, is the same as his Dad's,....
     

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