WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Candles, flowers and balloons mark the spot on River Street where a motorcyclist was killed in a high-speed crash Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Woonsocket Police Department, officers stopped the victim, identified as Darren Harris, for operating erratically on River Street Wednesday just before noontime.
Woonsocket Police said Harris initially stopped, but as officers approached his motorcycle, police say Harris sped off at a high rate of speed. Police said the officers decided to not pursue Harris.
Eyewitnesses told police Harris was traveling down River Road when he lost control around a bend, crossed the center line and collided head-on with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
Harris, 34, of Woonsocket, died while being transported to Rhode Island Hospital.
Family and friends gathered at a vigil Thursday evening in Lincoln at his father’s church to honor his memory.
“Darren was known for his big heart and giant smile, he brightened up a room,” Harris’ stepmom Cindy Harris said.
“He was a wonderful man and he’s going to be missed tremendously,” Harris’ father Pastor Daniel Harris added.
Harris’ friend, Michael Whitaker, said he received word of the crash and immediately called to check on him. He said the phone went straight to voicemail.
“I’m calling everybody… and it was him, he passed away,” Whitaker said through tears.
Whitaker said Darren had just bought his bike two months ago.
“We always rode together,” he said. “And now I’m not going to be able to ride with him no more.”
“He was loved by so many people, so many,” Whitaker added.
Police are investigating the crash.
This story has been updated. An earlier version of this story said the crash occurred at night.