Robert William Gillespy planned to ride his motorcycle to Cherokee this weekend, to disconnect from the Internet and his email and just enjoy the mountains.
Gillespy, 57, of Raleigh was on his bike when he was killed in a collision that snarled traffic on South Saunders Street for two hours Thursday morning.
Another motorcyclist was also injured in the crash.
Police charged the driver of a Ford work van, Quiana Tashean Alsabry of 3120 Cold Harbor Drive in Raleigh, with one misdemeanor count each of death by motor vehicle and unsafe movement, according to a citation filed Thursday afternoon at the county magistrate’s office.
Police obtained a blood sample from Alsabry, 23, but have not yet determined whether she was driving impaired, according to the citation.
Gillespy had just purchased the motorcycle last month.
“He was just showing his new bike to the president of the company,” said his colleague Lukas Schoenwetter, the human resources director of Aeroglide Corp., an industrial equipment manufacturer in Cary. Gillespy celebrated his 30th year with the company this year.
Gillespy, a married father and grandfather, worked as a project director responsible for selling Aeroglide’s products – primarily dryers for the food industry – all over the world, Schoenwetter said.
“His death leaves a big, big hole,” he said. “Knowledgewise and as a person. He was very well-respected as a friend and employee.”
A police accident report made public late Thursday indicated that Alsabry was driving a work van owned by American Gold Label Co. in Greensboro. Investigators say Alsabry, who also has an address listed in Bolivia, was going northbound when she attempted to make a U-turn on South Saunders Street at Penmarc Drive and collided with a Toyota headed southbound.
The impact of the collision redirected Alsabry’s van back into the northbound lanes and into the path of Gillespy’s 2003 Harley Davidson and a second Harley Davidson driven by Marion Fuller Wyatt IV of Garner, police reported.
Gillespy’s bike struck the work van, but Wyatt “braked hard” and then laid his bike down to avoid crashing into the van, according to the accident report.
Emergency medical service workers rushed Gillespy to WakeMed in Raleigh, where he died, police reported.
Police said Wyatt was also transported to WakeMed. His medical condition was unavailable Thursday night.
Alsabry was held Thursday at the Wake County jail under $5,000 bail, court records show.
Police closed both sides of Saunders Street from Interstate 40 north to Maywood Avenue for about two hours Thursday morning while they investigated the crash.
The road was reopened shortly after 11 a.m.