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Undiscovered For Several Hours, a Motorcyclist Is Found Dead on U.S. 1 Near Seminole Woods

| March 6, 2014

The motorcyclist was riding a Harley north on U.S. 1. The wreck was not discovered for several hours. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The motorcyclist was riding a Harley north on U.S. 1. The wreck was not discovered for several hours. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Peter Lonchar Jr., a 66-year-old motorcyclist traveling north on U.S. 1 early this morning, was killed when he drifted off the highway, struck a concrete culvert and jumped a silt construction fence, ending up near a waterlogged ditch.

Lonchar’s body was not discovered until after noon. Authorities believe the wreck took place at dawn or earlier. The silt barrier blocked the view of where Lonchar and his bright-yellow motorcycle ended up until a passing pedestrian saw the wreck and notified authorities.

Lonchar, whose identity was released in mid-evening, is from Weirton, in the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Lonchar was riding a 1995 Harley Davidson. He kept going straight just north of U.S. 1’s intersection with Seminole Woods Boulevard, where U.S. 1 curves to the west. Lonchar appears to have traveled upright on the bike on the grass until the bike struck an elevated, square concrete culvert, where a deep gash and the absence of subsequent marks in the grass suggest he may have gone airborne, striking the silt barrier a few dozen feet further north and tumbling into the ditch.

Lonchar was wearing a helmet.

The wreck closed one lane of U.S. 1 north between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. The Palm Coast Fire Police regulated traffic. Roger’s Towing removed the bike. It is unclear whether the biker was in the area for Bike Week, which begins Friday in Daytona Beach.

The bike path is visible in the grass until it hits the culvert. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The bike path is visible in the grass until it hits the culvert. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The bike may have been airborne until it fell just past the black construction fence and tumbled into the ditch. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The bike may have been airborne until it fell just past the black construction fence and tumbled into the ditch. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The rider was from West Virginia. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The rider was from West Virginia. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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35 Responses for “Undiscovered For Several Hours, a Motorcyclist Is Found Dead on U.S. 1 Near Seminole Woods”

  1. Girl says:

    RIP my prayers with him and his family.

  2. A.S.F. says:

    I wonder if Alcohol was involved. I see a lot of bars filled to brim with bikers during Bike Week and I see plenty of people leave the bars, hop right on their hogs and ride off. While I realize bikers bring a lot of income to the area during Bike Week, they should not be exempted from drinking and driving laws in the midst of their revels…not for their own sakes or for anyone else’s. Mind you, I’m not trying to single out bikers as a group in general over anyone else–I just notice a whole lot of drinking and then driving going on and wonder why, besides money considerations, it is not taken more seriously. And it’s really alarming to see how many of the cyclists aren’t wearing helmets ( I realize from the above article, that this particular individual was wearing one.) Again, I don’t mean to cast aspersions on the victim of THIS particular accident. My sincere condolences to the family and friends of the man mentioned above.

    • Pete was a very, very nice gentlemen. My family has a campground in SD and we were lucky enough to have pete stay with us during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He was not a drinker and was very cautious when riding. He will be missed by all that had the pleasure of meeting him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

    • Nancy says:

      While alcohol may not have been causal here…I too wonder about bar parking lots where you could not squeeze in one more bike if you tried. Are we to assume that 99% of their owners are in there drinking soda…or if a couple, one drinks and the other is the designated driver? Seriously, how does this work?

  3. Steve Wolfe says:

    I cringe whenever I see a motorcyclist on a wet road. To me, that is about the worst combination of conditions—power through 2 tandem wheels with compromised traction, and no physical protection from high speed impact. I rode as a much younger guy, when I believed I was 10 feet tall and bullet proof. A couple of wrecks convinced me that I was getting shorter. I chose another bucket list item. (Flying general aviation aircraft is safer, right?) I absolutely refuse to attempt riding again due to the unforgiving nature of the accidents. The fact is, automobile drivers are the biggest hazard to bikers, and bikers are just too vulnerable, no matter how defensive they may be, no matter how loud their pipes. Since I gave up riding, automobile driving has devolved into total slop, almost devoid of safety awareness and courtesy. I would never get on two wheels again with cars around me on the same roads. It’s safer to ride in a hollow aluminum tube through the air at 500 miles per hour along with 300 other brave souls.

    • rhweir says:

      Well said Mr Wolfe. I have to wonder at what point, and I know a lot of MC riders out there will go nuts over this one, at what point will the government say, that is enough and discourage and end motorcycles? Sorry to hear of this poor guy and how it ended for him. Have to wonder if he wasn’t on his way to bike week in Daytona from West Virginia? If so, we have fatality #1. Bike Week, the cultural event of the year for this region. Whoopee.

      • Wolley Segap says:

        Soon as they discourage and end automobiles, planes, trains, horses etc…I’d like to think your comment was sarcastic but I’m scared to death it wasn’t.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        It is part of our American culture of freedom. Bikers will be the last to give up theirs, so don’t hold your breath for a government solution. I identify with that culture, and we must be free to take our lives in our own hands, as we do every day when we walk out the front door to go anywhere by any conveyance. I don’t have the stats, but I would bet that there are far more automobile fatalities than MC. MC’s can be safe and fun, but also deadly fun. That’s part of the allure. I used to find myself trembling when I parked, having just cheated death again, yet ready to jump back on in 5 minutes and “ride de bull” again. I stopped after strike 2. I’m just prudent enough.

    • Cindy says:

      Pete was my Brother-In-Law. He was a good man. I really miss him. Love You Pete

    • Kevin says:

      Exactly why I sold my two bikes and never looked back at them again. Plus I had my first and only child which made me get conservative with my life and lifestyle.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        Yeah, kids have that effect for sure. But that might be what saves some of us guys from ourselves. Puts a damper on that 10 feet tall and bullet proof self-image. Shows us there’s more important things than our self-indulgence, and even greater things. Raising a little guy is so consuming and joyful, I wouldn’t want to miss that for anything. And you sound like a good candidate for that, so I hope you enjoy every moment, and are good with a camera.

    • Anonymous says:

      While i agree that car driviers need to be much more aware i have also seen countless bikers weaving in and out of lanes. The issue is on both sides. Both the car driver and biker share equal responsibility. And the biker shoukd considervthat they are at a disadvantage as far as being visible and need to always assume they cant be seen.

  4. JtFlagler says:

    Ever since the construction crews removed the lane barriers, that section of US1 north is a death trap for bikers. I feel sorry for any biker not from this area that is unaware of the cuts in the road. Who knows what the reason was for this accident but I can tell you from experience that when you cross those cuts on your bike you’ve got a handful. It seems that every year around bike week there is major construction in the main thorough fares that result in needless deaths.

  5. Sean Wright says:

    Petey was a great guy, and will be sadly missed by all

  6. Charles Ericksen Jr says:

    Unfortunately, quite similar to another motorcycle accident , about 2 years ago, across from The Black Cloud, in the Northbound lane, where the biker went off the road and into the tall brush, and was not seen for 2-3 hours. He too was found dead..

  7. JIM OLIVER says:


  8. Donna Heiss says:

    I don’t like the assumption that all who enter a bar drink. I am a bartenders worst nightmare. I do not drink at all ever. It’s water for me. Lets not label all who go into a bar as drinkers. Some of us are there to hear bands, see friends and have a good time without alcohol.

    My sincere condolences to family and friends.

  9. jfox says:

    Pete was a damn good man very good friend and will be missed I have road with him many times and lets not get it screwed up here he was a very good rider always .The man had many many friends and a good wife was always there if you needed him and never had a bad thing to say about anyone .so that being saidI would like to see him and his loved ones treated with the same respect dont judge this man by any stereo types you may have of us bikers because if you knew the man you would have loved him too R.I.P. MY BROTHER

  10. fred burnes says:

    pete was a great friend I met pete and cathy in 85 on the way to sturgis in a rest stop in s d at 3 00 a m have been good friends ever sense we have made many trips to Sturgis together and rode thousands of miles together in the black hills , I love you brother and will miss you forever , rest in piece my friend , until we meet again , happy trails to you

    I love you cathy prayers for you and your family

    fred and donna

  11. BobbyD says:

    I agree with JTflagler. Those scrapes in the center of us1 are not exactly fun to cross over on a motorcycle. I ride EVERY day from p.c. to ormond beach and i do cross those at times. Now i am going to assume those scrapes in the road could have been the reason he lost control. If it was windy, wet and crossed over too sudden to try to execute the crossover safely he could have lost it. i see he had solid rims and ive heard from people a blast of wind will push you quite a bit if you have those. maybe it was a deadly combination for the poor guy. Also, i want to add. Motorcycles are actually safer in the rain (other than getting wet and dealing with rain and wind openly) due to the design of the tires. If you notice, bike tires are more “rounded” thus cutting the water out quicker and the tires reaching pavement better than a car tire which is flat. A flat tire you are more prone to hydro sliding no mater how much tread you have. But, i would avoid a deep puddle if possible while goin highway speeds. I do this daily. Get the right training on a motorcycle people and you can ride everyday and be safe.

  12. Bert says:

    Please, Pete did not drink or do drugs, loved his bikes and his family! RIP my brother in law! PLEASE DO NOT JUDGGE!!!

  13. Bert says:

    If anyone has anything bad to say, they did not know Pete Lonchar!! This world is missing a great man!!
    I will miss you, Love Roberta Stefan Bailey Reinard, your sister in law!

  14. Bergt says:

    The seasoned biker that Pete was leads me to believe there is more to this! Someone else was involved! Come forward you coward !! Investigate !!!

  15. Victoria Bailey says:

    Pete was a wonderful man, and all-around great guy. I’m lucky to have known him and spent time with him, as little as it was. He was my husband’s uncle, and we looked forward to seeing him and Cathy on their visits to Myrtle Beach. He would go out of his way to do something nice for you, and he was as excited to see our dogs as he was to see us! He was so kind, always treated everyone and every living thing with courtesy and respect, and could always make us laugh. I know he’s cruising in a better place, and will continue to keep Cathy, Shawn, his beautiful granddaughter, Bridgette, and the rest of the family in my thoughts and prayers. Ride In Peace, Uncle Pete.

  16. Millie says:

    The Last Ride ©Copyright 2003 (RoadHog/RoadHog’s Pig Pen™) All Rights Reserved

    I stood and I watched as my Brother rode by

    It wasn’t the way it should be

    He rode not his bike, but in a long black cage

    And he rode by himself not with me.

    But I shed not a tear for this Brother of mine

    For he lived free and loved his lifestyle

    So ride on my Brother and rest in peace

    Till we meet again after while

    And when my time comes to take that last ride

    You can bet it’ll be with a smile

    Cause I love to ride and I’ll be going home

    So I’ll enjoy it to the very last mile

    • Della says:

      he was my brother in law. He loved his bike.
      I was proud to see 20 motorcycles leading his procession.

  17. A.S.F. says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Mr. Lonchar seems to have been a lot of peoples’ brother-in-law.

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