Motorcyclist killed in crash

JAMES ISLAND — A Moncks Corner man was killed Wednesday afternoon on Folly Road while riding his motorcycle home from work.

He suffered head trauma and was not wearing his helmet, Charleston County Deputy Coroner Kelly Myers said.

Alex Townsend, 32, had just left his job off Folly Road about 4 p.m., Myers said.

Traffic was congested because of a propane tank fire in an industrial park off Folly Road. Townsend was waiting in a line of cars on Folly Road, and police finally let the traffic pass, said 12-year-old Ashanti Brown, who witnessed the accident.

Brown was riding his bicycle to his home in the Westchester neighbor- hood when Townsend's red motorcycle passed him and crashed into a white car.

Jonathan Kiker of Folly Beach was driving the car. He was trying to cross Folly Road to get into the same neighborhood to visit a friend when the motorcycle slammed into the right rear panel of his car, he said.

"I never saw him coming," Kiker said.

Townsend flipped off the motorcycle and onto the pavement, Brown said.

"He landed flat on his face," the boy said. "It's a shock. I've never seen anything like that before."

Brown said Townsend's helmet had been hanging from the back of the motorcycle.

Townsend died at Medical University Hospital, Myers said. Police this afternoon continue to investigate the cause of the wreck.

MUH has the only Level 1 trauma center in the Lowcountry, and one of only four in the state, so it handles some of the most severe motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycle fatalities have increased steadily in South Carolina in recent years. Last year, 120 bikers were killed, up from 106 in 2006.

The number of licensed motorcycle drivers in the state has risen steadily as well. In May, motorcycle drivers in South Carolina totaled 167,244. That number increased by more than 2,000 drivers since February of this year.

The Motorcycle Safety Task Force was formed in March as a result of the trend of motorcycle deaths. It is made up of law enforcement, highway safety groups and motorcycle industry leaders.