Family of 22-year-old motorcyclist killed in Port Orange crash fights for safer intersection

Port Orange police respond to 11 crashes in 3 years at dangerous intersection

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – Months after his death, the family of a man killed at a Port Orange intersection is pushing to make it safer.

The family of 22-year-old Ryan Friend is fighting for a safer intersection after a driver crossed four lanes of traffic and struck Friend’s motorcycle at Nova Road and Miles Drive on Sept. 25.

"I don't want another mother to go through what I go through every time my eyes are awake," said Laurie Friend, Ryan's mother.

The family replaced the tragic scene with a decorated makeshift memorial. Laurie Friend, a former police officer, said every day has been a battle since losing her son.

She claims the Port Orange Police Department did not thoroughly investigate her son’s crash. She said if they had, the driver would not have walked away with a $166 citation for failing to yield.

“I asked, ‘What about a blood test? What about the computer in his vehicle? What about measurements?’ This report isn’t making sense. It’s not matching up to the fatal injuries that my son had,” Laurie Friend said.

The police department told News 6 that it did not take measurements at the scene because that is not consistent with their policy. In regards to not charging the driver, police released the following statement:

“Our investigation did not reveal the existence of any elements of reckless driving consistent with the willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons on the part of the driver of the vehicle. Furthermore, the driver did not exhibit any signs of impairment consistent with operating a vehicle under the influence, nor was there any evidence at the crash scene which contradicted that finding. Because there was no probable cause that a crime occurred as defined by Florida state statute, no charges were able to be filed.”

The Port Orange Police Department said it has responded to 11 crashes at that particular intersection over the last three years.

But, Friend’s mother doesn’t agree with the police department’s statement.

“He deserved the respect and the thorough investigation from the Port Orange Police Department and I just feel like he didn’t get it,” she said.

The family donned Justice for Ryan T-shirts Wednesday morning and said they plan to protest for a safer street in hopes that their actions will save a life.

“I think 1,000% he’s smiling right now if we save one life, if we help one person,” Friend said.

The protest will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the intersection of Nova Road and Miles Drive and is open to the public. Police told the Friend family they will be standing behind them this weekend.

About the Author: