Rider killed in collision near Yokota was former airman, motorcycle club leader
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 2, 2020
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A former airman was escorting newly qualified military motorcyclists on a group ride across Tokyo when he was killed in a collision with a minivan Saturday, according to the president of his motorcycle club.
Peter James Davidson Jr., 51, a civilian aircraft maintainer at Yokota, died of head injuries after his motorcycle struck the back of a minivan that made an illegal turn in Fussa, the city that surrounds the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo, Japanese police said Monday.
The married father of two who had worked on Beechcraft C-12 Huron transport planes at Yokota for more than a decade, was sergeant-at-arms of the local chapter of the Green Knights, a motorcycle club geared toward active-duty riders with branches all over the world, Yokota club president Evan Hall said in a phone interview Monday.
Senior members of the club were escorting a pair of newly qualified riders from Yokota’s 374th Security Forces Squadron to familiarize them with local roads when the crash happened, Hall said.
“They had just got their licenses and a few guys were leading them out there to show them how to approach corners and be careful and what to look out for,” he said.
A motorcyclist since he was a teenager, Davidson was a popular member of the club and rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 sport bike everywhere, Hall said.
“He did everything on that bike,” he said. “He would strap 80 pounds of camping gear across the back and ride it all day to a campsite.”
Davidson had raced motorcycles when he was younger and broken bones in track crashes, Hall said.
Davidson was an enforcer charged with sorting out disciplinary and respect issues and conflicts with members of other clubs, he said.
“We lost a long-standing and valued member of our community,” the commander of Yokota’s 374th Maintenance Group, Col. Todd Wydra, said in a Facebook message Monday evening.
Davidson was a valued C-12J field engineer whose contributions were pivotal to the 459th Airlift Squadron’s success, Wydra said, referring to the unit that operates the Hurons and UH-1N Iroquois helicopters in Tokyo.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our employee’s family and friends and our Vertex team during this difficult time,” Rachel Henson, a spokesman for Davidson’s employer, Vertex Aerospace, said in an email Monday.
The driver of the van involved in the fatal crash, a local housewife in her 40s, was arrested and referred to prosecutors for negligent driving resulting in death, according to Japanese police.
The crash was the second fatal crash involving a Yokota motorcyclist this year. Senior Airman Michael Spradlin, 28, of the 374th Maintenance Squadron, was killed in an on-base accident in February.