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OPP will be 'relentless' tracking air mattress owner

By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff

The OPP are appealing for witnesses in relation to a fatal motorcycle collision July 7, 2017 on Hwy 406 in Welland. Police said a driver of a motorcycle was killed when he struck an inflated mattress and lost control. Bob Tymczyszyn/Postmedia Network Files

The OPP are appealing for witnesses in relation to a fatal motorcycle collision July 7, 2017 on Hwy 406 in Welland. Police said a driver of a motorcycle was killed when he struck an inflated mattress and lost control. Bob Tymczyszyn/Postmedia Network Files

Ontario Provincial Police investigators have determined from where an air mattress that caused a fatal crash in Welland was distributed and likely sold.

“We’re working with the supplier,” said OPP media relations officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, Thursday. “We’re going to be relentless tracking this down and coming to closure.”

On the night of the crash, Friday, July 7, OPP said, Donald Pidgeon, 55, of Fort Erie was on riding a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a passenger on back on Highway 406 north of the East Main Street roundabout.

Pidgeon was travelling with two other motorcycles, both with drivers and passengers, when the group came upon an air mattress in the right lane.

OPP said the driver of the first motorcycle was able to successfully swerve around the inflated dark blue air mattress. Pidgeon was the second motorcycle in the group and struck the air mattress, losing control of his bike after it became entangled. He was thrown from the bike and later died from his injuries. His passenger was injured.

The third motorcycle driver, OPP investigators said, laid his bike down to avoid Pidgeon’s bike, and he and his passenger slid down the highway. There was “interaction” between the motorcycles and a possibility that bike may have struck Pidgeon.

On Wednesday, Schmidt took the Periscope app via Twitter to talk about the crash and again appeal to the owner of the air mattress to come forward.

“We’re continuing to appeal for witnesses to give us information as to the source, the owner and information that will help us bring us the answers the family is so desperately looking for,” he said on the live broadcast.

OPP have set up a dedicated tip-line for the investigation where anyone can call in at 416-428-8285. People can also call the Niagara OPP detachment at 905-356-1311 and those wishing to remain anonymous can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

“I really want to speak to the person responsible for this. At this point, I would suspect that there’s no malicious intent in this person’s actions as to how this (the air mattress) ended up on the highway,” Schmidt said in the broadcast, which has had more than 4,000 views.

He said the air mattress’s owner could consult with a lawyer before speaking with police if that person wished to do so.

Thursday, Schmidt said, all OPP have at this point is a minor traffic issue, failing to secure a load, a $100 fine under the Highway Traffic Act.

He said there are tips coming in to police, who want bring the case to a close and provide the family with answers.

dajohnson@postmedia.com

Twitter: @DaveJTheTrib 

 



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