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Author: Subject: The day Duane died, the facts the papers never heard

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 10:52 AM
Oct. 29, 1971

I was in my kitchen, when my husband came in, white as a sheet.

He was clearly in shock. His normally Ga. Tanned skin was totally devoid of color.
My husband was a construction worker. I had seen him, almost in this condition, several times before, but never this bad.

The other times, it was when he'd heard of some construction worker in the state being buried alive in a pit cave-in. He wasn't a person to get rattled, easily, but the one thing he seemed to fear, above all else, was the idea of being buried in a pit cave in. The company he worked for, was non-union, and there were no shoreings in the pits he usually worked in, up to 15 feet deep, operating a heavily vibrating boring rig.

Other times when he'd come in, pale, were when he, himself, had had to frantically go scrambling up out of a pit as the walls began to collapse.

This time, he was even more upset.

I was over 7 mo. pregnant.
My baby's life had been a constant worry since I first learned I was pregnant, shortly after being exposed to German measles. I'd almost lost my baby several times. I had another child, 5, from an earlier marriage.

I asked my husband what was 'wrong' ?
He didn't seem to hear me, at first, he just stared off into space like he was watchiing something I couldn't see, but when he did speak, it was to softly say "A kid.......a kid ran under my truck...........and he's dead.......!"

I sat down heavily in a kitchen chair. a child was dead ?????
I pictured a toddler, darting under my husband's truck, unseen, until it was too late.
My heart was suddenly in my throat, I felt faint, but I wasn't the fainting type.

I finally asked him how 'Old' the 'kid' was ?
He shook his head, as if to try and clear his mind of something, so he could answer me.
"24"
24 ? but that was my husband's age !!!
I was confused.

I wanted to hear what had happened, so he told me:
He had been in ( a company truck) waiting for the hill to clear ahead, so he could turn onto (the road where the co. he worked for, was) when the hill was clear, he finally made the turn, but well into it, he suddenly heard a crash, (back in the intersection).

He stopped his truck, and jumped out to run back to see if he could help in some way.

He hadn't felt any impact, so it never crossed his mind he might be involved in any way, he was just trying to help who-ever was. He said the 'first' thing he saw was a bike "racing like crazy" so he reached over and turned it off. Then he saw 'the kid'.....the thing that stood out in his mind, the most, was "long hair, and so much blood"

Before he had time to think, beyond that, a car crested the hill, and stopped, and "a girl came flying out of it, toward me, crying, and screaming "you killed my husband !!! You killed my husband!!"

He really didn't tell me anymore than that. Just added that the police had told him to come home, and inform his family, and they wanted him back at the station later that evening.

When we went over there, there was a metal, spiral stair, going up through the floor, to the police station.
My husband told me to go ahead of him, so if I lost my balance (with my ackward pregnancy) he could catch and steady me, from behind. I remember my head clearing the upper floor, and seeing the officers sitting around, they looked toward me curiously, but as soon as i assended far enough for them to see my condition, they scrambled to provide a chair for me.

Then they saw my husband, behind me.
All of a sudden they were falling all over themselves to assure me everything was going to be okay. They told me/us that they'd gone over my husband's truck with a fine tooth comb, and there was absolutely NO evidence of impact, of any kind. They said the driver behind my husband, had told them that he'd (my husband) had waited to make his turn, Only when that hill was absolutely free of traffic.

They told me/us details of how D. A. happened to be, where he was, when he was, going as fast as he was. (the speed limit on that road is 35 mph...it could afford to be even lower, due to it's dips and drop-offs) they said they estimated that D. A. was going in excess of 55 mph, when his bike lost contact with the pavement, on (that last drop off) and he apparently became airborn. They said a car, going the speed limit, would have hugged the pavement, but the (lighter bike) going faster, couldn't.

They said that my husband's truck, (for the most part) had cleared the intersection enough that a car could have gotten around him without getting into the other lane, but a car, going the speed limit, wouldn't have arrived at that point, until the intersection was well clear, in any case.

(oh yeah, re. the pot holes ..yes, they were definatly there, in the road he turned onto...But he was 24 and in a Big truck....he knew those pot holes well,.....and he was Not afraid of them..he Didn't 'stop' , when he did, because of pot holes.

He stopped, because he heard the crash behind him, in the intersection, and he needed to stop, in order to run back to help. I won't try and say he was a saint, but he was the kind of person who never hesitated to stop to help when he saw a need.....he seemed to relish being able to help, like it made his day better, somehow. It never would have crossed his mind Not to try and help. Maybe someone else would have just kept going, not wanting to get involved, but he just couldn't do that, it simply wasn't in his nature.)

The police indicated that at first it had been believed that D. A. had turned his wheel to try and avoid impact with the truck, but further investigation revealed he had been airborn, and likely never had a chance to (think along those lines) and that the wheel turned aside on it's own, when it re-made contact with the pavement, below the hill.....They indicated that was common in bike accidents where a bike loses contact with the pavement, and then returns to it

They assured us, that there was nothing to worry about. They had found no proof that my husband had been guilty of anything more than "being in the wrong place, at the wrong time" and there was nothing for them to press charges on him for.

They sent us home with words of encouragement, not to worry. They had even found some treat for my 5 yr old, while we were there, but I no-longer remember exactly what that was.

In the weeks that followed, I tried not to follow the evening news reports. We didn't get the local paper, the Macon Telegraph. But my husband had opportunity to see it, at work, and brought home some clippings which I still had up until about a half doz. years ago.

The girl who'd run at him screaming about her 'husband', filed a lawsuit, claiming, as his wife, she was entitled to (money.)

His real (ex) wife stepped forward, and said his relationship to the girl, was not a legal one, that she was his common-law-wife, and she (the ex) didn't feel (his girlfriend) should be entitled to Anything,........however.....her own daughter, from her legal marriage to him, should be entitled to (money) based on her father's projected future earnings. The sum one of them wanted ( I forget which, perhaps, both) was 3 million dollars...........

Even though my husband and his company were absolved from any blame, the insurance company, paid off 100,000 to/for the daughter's future needs. To this day, I fail to understand why they'd do that, unless they feared the cost of the whole thing getting drug out for years, and it costing them more, to prove they shouldn't have to pay, anything.

My baby was born Christmas Day.
My husband, a work-aholic Illinois Farmboy, never lived to see his own 30th Bd.
(his son will be 35 on Monday)
My husband died, in a traffic accident, on I-16, on Nov. 11, 1976,....exactly, 4 years to the day, from Berry Oakley's accident.

'Accrosstownbar' was right. He was a 'straight arrow' a family man.
There was a song that was popular at the time, by Glen Campbell, and he was always singing it to me, when it came on the radio,....I don't remember the name, but the line he always sang to me was "and if the good Lord is kind, you'll be the last thing on my mind" in the months after his loss, I cried every time it came un-expected on the radio. Eventually I just turned off the radio.......was I the last thing on his mind ? Yes, I'm sure of it.

It's my understanding (from his accident report) that there were a few moments before he died, when he knew he was going to...(the driver said, on the accident report, he'd fallen asleep, at the wheel, and woke up to my husband desperately trying to wrestle the wheel out of his hands, and turn it from the interstate bridge support they were heading straight at)

The driver survived.
The accident report said they'd had to wait til he regained conciousness, to ask him if his passenger had been black or white. There wasn't much left to cremate, but I had followed my husband's wishes about that, (expressed 2 years earlier) and scattered his ashes in a lovely place in the N. Ga. mountains he'd loved so much. The place is still safe and beautiful, and will remain so for as long as I, and his son, live.

I eventually re-married, but not until after my youngest left for college, earned by himself, from scholarships .

My present husband is a good man. More alike than he knows, to the one I lost. He doesn't live with a ghost. He lives with a legacy that he understands needed to have gone, before, in order make me the person he fell in love with, and make me determined not to marry, again, until I'd found a man as good for me, as the one I lost, or better.
He understands.

Today, he came home, and announced "There was an Allman Bros. song on the radio, when i was coming home.......I always liked that one"
.....funny, i didn't think I knew any......but it turns out I knew many, I just hadn't realized I did.

I hope I've set some of the record straight, filled in some of the places it was sketchy, or downright wrong.
BTW the only 'peaches' that truck ever 'carried' were in a brown paper sack in the front seat.
Windsinger


[Edited on 12/20/2006 by windsinger]
*********************************************
I did a search for that song Chuck was always singing to me. No wonder I couldn't find it under Glen Campbell's name ,.......it was Paul Anka's song,....I'm So embarrassed. We listened to a LOT of Glen Campbell in those days,...so it was a natural mistake. As to Chuck's reference to "so much blood',.....He HAD said it,.....but I'd assumed he ment on/around Duane. (He was still in shock and making vague references to what-all he'd seen) I've since learned that where Duane actually fell,...there was little of that to be seen. But Chuck got to the bike before he discovered Duane. In Sott Freeman's book 'Skydog' there is a photo of Duane's bike against the low curb. Beneath it is a clearly flowing puddle of SOMETHING,.......there is a time, in early morning and late evening,...when the sunlight is all but gone,...and 'colors' become cold tones that are often impossible to identify. I THINK that the 'blood' Chuck was referring to was, in fact, that dark liquid around the bike. In the low late Fall light,....I believe he likely mistook it for blood, since he was looking for a missing rider after he turned the engine off on the bike. But in his state of shock he never distinguished between what he saw around the bike and what he saw when he found Duane. He DID say that 'the kid' had lost his helmet and he saw (a lot of long blond hair).

I've also (last April) learned that Duane had bought a helmet, he really liked (from a friend of the man I was asking in Macon, about the accident) and as Duane was leaving the shop,....he complained that he didn't like the color of the straps on the helmet,...and so, as I understood it,...he removed them from the helmet after he purchased it. The man I was talking to, voiced the question of wondering if That was the same helmet Duane lost in the accident,.....i.e. Duane Was apparently wearing one,...but he lost it.
Maybe he lost it because it wasn't strapped on,...or was missing the straps. Does anyone know what became of the helment ? If it was missing the straps,...it was likely the same one I was told about. If so,...that would help explain it's loss at the time of the accident.

Ann. I'm not trying to re-hash all this.
Just trying to clarify some things.
I've been told by mutual aquaintances that you're a great lady and we'd likely like each other under other circumstances. I hope we can someday get those.
Wind





[Edited on 2/26/2008 by windsinger]

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 11:12 AM
I am moved beyond words. Thank you.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 12:06 PM
My, oh my...What a tale.
What can I say?
Bless You, and Thank you.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 12:23 PM
Thank you so much for sharing. I had always had a hard time trying to connect the general information about this tragedy with common logic. The information about the bike being airborne makes perfect sense. I always thought Duane was too experienced a rider for any of the other explanations to be true. I am sorry for your loss and happy to know you have found peace. A question for other readers....what ever happened to the girl that "came at " windsingers husband (Dixie I suppose)?
 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 12:44 PM
There was no large amount of blood at the scene. Duane only had a few scratches.His injuries were internal.He did not die at the scene,but lived about another three hours until 8:30
 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 12:46 PM
Duane's Sportster had six inch over stock front fork tubes, and I am sure his bike was a little hard to handle. (As a biker, I know this. The center of gravity of the bike changed when he re-did the front end. The only way it would have handled better with six over tubes was to change the rake of the fork neck, and that requires cutting and welding of the frame.)

I have heard that Dixie faded into domesticity in the ATL area and desires to remain anonymous.

[Edited on 12/20/2006 by BigDaveOnBass]

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 12:50 PM
I'm speechless. Thank you.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 01:03 PM
Thank you, windsinger, for finally getting the facts out on the tragedy of Oct.29, 1971. It must be difficult, and I think your husband was a real "true Mensch".

"They told me/us details of how D. A. happened to be...going as fast as he was. (the speed limit on that road is 35 mph...they estimated that D. A. was going in excess of 55 mph, when his bike lost contact with the pavement, ...he apparently became airborn. They said a car, going the speed limit, would have hugged the pavement, but the (lighter bike) going faster, couldn't."

So there never was any blame to be given here other than Duane, true to form, going much faster than everyone else. He died like he lived, trying to get airborn.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 01:19 PM
Dave, I agree about those extended forks and no rake of the steering head, and their contribution to poor handling. If the bike did become airborne, there would definitely be more opportunity for them to "turn" in air and high side the rider upon landing. Grim subject ,but if you ride or even if you extended the forks of your mustang bicycle as a kid , you'll know what we mean.Those "sit up and beg" bikes were not noted for handling.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 01:29 PM
found i n the gallery the road. Is this correct?

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 01:34 PM
Yes, Eric. That's looking down Hillcrest, and Bartlett is the street to the left. This is the view Duane saw as he was riding down Hillcrest. The accident happened just passed this intersection, with the truck coming from the opposite direction, toward Duane, making a left turn into the lumber yard to the right in the picture. Duane tried to go around the truck to the left, and that is when he lost control. The lumber yard parking lot is paved now, but I imagine in 1971 it was not paved.

[Edited on 12/20/2006 by BigDaveOnBass]

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 01:40 PM
Also, it has been noted that Duane had just bought the bike and that it was in need of some maintenance, most notably the tires needed to be replaced.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 02:20 PM
I hate to be the one, but what inspired this as a first post? I hope this is a sincere post, can you please elaborate? Sorry for the doubt, but I have seen internet fables that inspired everything from donations for a dying person to obituaries for forum members that died of people that never really existed. The Philzone was hit with a weird deal a couple of years ago, where people sent money for an elaborate living organ donar scenario that was all a fraud.

My only point is the internet is a vulnerable place at times, and Duane Allman is sacred stuff here and this one just has an odd feel about it. Maybe some additional information to lend credence.... as pointed out a couple of facts were off base.

I am not judging, and I apologize for any inference, just my wondering mind.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 02:25 PM
Bird, I did check the SSDI for her late husband's name and found it, along with his date of birth, death and state of birth. It all checked out. FWIW

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 02:27 PM
And that took how long

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 03:32 PM
as pointed out a couple of facts were off base.

That happens sometimes when the whole story isn't known. As for the blood...I know in times of stress we actually see our own blood rushing through our eyes...it's what's known as 'seeing red.' Perhaps that's what happened to make the young man believe Duane was bleeding. What a sad story. Thank you for sharing.

[Edited on 12/20/2006 by bigann]

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 03:55 PM
Wow.

Thank you for sharing.... wishing all the best for your family this Christmas and the futur

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 05:11 PM
quote:
And that took how long
A minute or two. What's your point?

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 06:22 PM
quote:
quote:
And that took how long
A minute or two. What's your point?


Only that public record is easily found and quickly on the wonderous net, and can be done by anyone. I probably should shut up, I probably have offended some, and in retrospect I shouldn't have posted at all on this subject...... I'll go with that this was a kind and wonderful post from a loving widow, and thank you to her.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 07:55 PM
Windsinger,
Thank you so much for posting your story. I had heard the driver of the truck was also 24 years old, and I was sure it must have been a nightmare for him as well as everyone else. To find out what a wonderful and loved person it was who was killed and to know that some blamed your husband must have hurt very much. I would guess it still does when you hear people talking about the accident. I'm really sorry for all you've been through. It has done us all good to hear what you have to say.
LaPeche

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 09:37 PM
I just want to add here what I have in my ABB bible of notes. (once again)

Shortly after leaving the Big House - around 5:45 PM -Duanee swerved to avoid a truck which was moving in the same direction, but which he had evidently not seen in time after it had turned onto the street. The bike skidded and turned over, apparently pinning Allman underneath as it traveled another 50 feet. Dixie and Candy had been following Duane but had not seen the accident happen. They came upon the accident shorty after it happened and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived. He reportedly ceased breathing twice in the ambulance but was revivied each time by mouth-to-mouth resuccitation. He died after two hours of emergency surgery at Macon Medical Center.
Dr. Charles Burton, the attending surgeon, said afterwards that any of the injuries sustained, a collapsed chest, resulting in massive internal injuries, including a ruptured coronary artery and a severely damaged liver - would have probably caused death, but that the combination of injuries left very little hope from the outset.

----------------------------------------------

Windsinger, thank you for coming here and taking the time to explain what happened from your side of the sad events. I am going to add your post to my endless folder of ABB notes. Peace be with you...

[Edited on 12/21/2006 by Pam]

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 10:28 PM
Sad how that accident impacted so many people in so many ways. Had to be difficult to have been the truck driver.

Dave how did you verify all that info: DOB, etc. What is SSID?

bob

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 10:39 PM
I've been thinking....do you realize how many people have never been interviewed about so many things?! I wonder why no one ever followed that particular lead to get that side of the story for any of the books written so far!

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 10:44 PM
quote:
I've been thinking....do you realize how many people have never been interviewed about so many things?! I wonder why no one ever followed that particular lead to get that side of the story for any of the books written so far!


I've always wondered that myself. Figured they didn't want to talk about it and would have rather forgotten about it. I couldn't imagine being that truck driver.

 

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  posted on 12/20/2006 at 10:48 PM
Bob, SSDI is the Social Security Death Index.

You enter in the name--- and the dates of birth, death, location where benefits sent, SSN, etc are revealed. Good for family research or seeing if old classmates have passed on.

http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/

[Edited on 12/21/2006 by TanDan]

 

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