Two killed in motorcycle crash with tanker truck in Mount Airy

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Data pix.
Credit: Keith Strange / Mount Airy News

Credit: Keith Strange / Mount Airy News

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Two people, including a retired Stokes County teacher, died Sunday after a motorcycle and petroleum tanker truck collided on U.S. 52 in Mount Airy.

Around 7:30 p.m., the truck pulled out of the parking lot at Cooke Trucking onto U.S. 52 north and into the path a 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle, according to the Highway Patrol.

“The petroleum truck was leaving Cooke Trucking and pulled into the path of the motorcycle,” Sgt. Kevin Barker told the Mount Airy News. “Apparently, the motorcycle ended up striking the bottom of the trailer. "The driver (of the truck) stated that he misjudged the distance between himself and the motorcycle."

Mae Margaret Barker, 57, of Mount Airy.

Mae Margaret Barker, 57, of Mount Airy.

The operator of the motorcycle, John Higginbotham, 54, of Elberton, Ga., and the passenger, Mae Margaret Barker, 57, of Haymore Road, Mount Airy, both died in the crash.

Higginbotham died at the scene and Barker died in surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle are pending against the driver of the tanker truck.

Barker was a longtime teacher in Surry County and Stokes County, most recently working as the reading teacher at Lawsonville Elementary.

"Our kids just loved her," said Lawsonville Elementary parent Ashley Hall. "She would come in with a smile on her face every day."

"You would never think your teacher would ride a motorcycle," said Joy Hambright, a friend of Barker who started riding motorcycles two years ago. "She taught me about loving life."

Hambright and Barker rode with friends at Cooper's Bar in Pilot Mountain, especially for their charity rides at Christmas, Easter and first day of school.

"She loved people; she was always very happy, very proud to be a part of any benefit to help people out," Hambright said.

Since her retirement, she frequently returned to Lawsonville Elementary as a substitute teacher.

Cooper's Bar plans to celebrate Barkers life Sunday at 2 p.m. and at their next charity ride before Easter.

For more information on the rides contact Cooper's 336-368-2192 or visit their Facebook page


  • Weatherman

    My heart goes out to their families.Having lost my sister in a motorcycle accident,I feel the pain way to well .My prayers reach out to everyone involved .

  • brandon jarrell

    Mae you will be missed by so many especially me. You were such an amazing woman I am so thankful I was able to meet you and sell you your can-am spyder that you rode everyday. Good bless you and your family!!!!! Rest in peace. Love brandon

  • Thomas Byrd

    Kill 2 people and get charged with a misdemeanor? That’s messed up. In Arkansas we call it vehicular homicide. FELONY!

  • Mike Finamore

    Vehicular homocide, and reckless operation of amotor vehicle should be the ver least of the charges filed against this steering wheel holder that calls himself a “truck driver”! I have over 2 MILLION MILES as a commercial transport operator! This kind of thing is totally UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR!

    • Raymond

      Hopefully this kind of accident will never happen to you. And I am sure that the driver thought it would never happen to him. This is is total tragedy for everyone involved. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

  • kayla

    So with the tank driver having enough time to pull out onto the highway and be straight in the lane, did the driver of the motorcycle not slow up/ and or break (cause we all know how fast tankers are) or maybe the motorcycle driver was under the influence and was not capable performing those tasks … about we not judge UNTIL ALL THE FACTS ARE STRAIGHT

    • Alexis Jarrett

      I agree! This was an accident and considering they hit his trailer it could have been anything like that. Its a terrible tragedy but its not like he woke up planning to kill someone.

    • Trixie

      He was a friend of mine and he laid the bike down and slid 143 feet…that enough braking for you…ps the driver of the truck is a great guy and has a family too…blame isnt going to fix any of this!!!!

  • keith shaw

    If this had been a car or truck it may have been just another accident. Maybe even no death, When you ride a motorcycle or bike you are putting your self in danger. I have and so have many of you had wrecks. Mine have all been with other cars, everybody walked away. If it had been a motorcycle death may have occurred. I do not think that I should be a felon for an accident..

  • Spoon McGillicuttie

    Misjudged my arse. These big boys pull out anytime they like because they expect the others on the road to stop for them. The m/c was not able to. Blood on his hands, if you pull into the path of a vehicle ALREADY IN THE ROADWAY you are at fault PERIOD!

    And I quote “Charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle are pending against the driver of the tanker truck”.

  • Tracey

    This was a terrible ACCIDENT! I’m sure the driver is feeling bad enough without everyone putting in their 2 cents. It’s easy to sit at home and judge what others do just from watching clips on the news. There are always 2 sides to every story and we do not know all the facts yet.

  • Amber

    That’s right Tracey no one knows all the facts. I fully believe it was a terrbile accident as well. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for being on here an talking about the driver like you know every detail of every little thing about this accident. It’s in Gods hand now and that’s where it needs to be instead of letting the public talk trash like many of you above have been doing just pray for the families involved on BOTH sides because even though the two people are dead doesn;t mean the family of the driver is not being affected. Think about it what if this was you?

  • B

    Always expect the unexpected to happen when operating any type of vehicle. The truck driver should not have pulled out if he saw the approaching motorcycle, period. Tractor-trailers are slow moving and take more distance to accelerate the vehicles up to speed.

  • D.C.

    I have known the driver of the truck for more than 30 years, I know his family, I can assure you that he did not wake up that morning and say he was going to go out and be in this terrible accident. I also know the D.O.T. officer and the State trooper that did the investigation and as I have been told this Officer Kevin Barker was not even at the scene, how can he make such a damning statement about what the driver supposedly said when he never even talked to him. I also am a truck driver for more than 15 years and the fact is the media and these TV commercial lawyers that chase ambulances paint things in a light that are going to make the driver and the trucking industry look as bad as possible in order pad their own pockets. My friend is a good man that comes from a good family and does not deserve some of the comments that are being made by people who do not know the facts or know him personally.

  • Patsy

    First and foremost this woman was no saint! I hate that she died but she was his MISTRESS!! Eric was married with kids. He worked in North Carolina, but lived in Elberton!! This is a horrible news story and is very is very distasteful in the fact the you call him her boyfriend.

  • Steve

    She was needed somewhere else. Honor what she gave this world, and our youth. People aren’t perfect and no excuse for the actions, but if you did nothing to stop it no sense in running your mouth about the flaws of another.
    She will be missed and prayers go out to those that hurt in the loss of her students and family.

    • Will Grant

      oh, brother… “she was needed somewhere else” …

      Hell, where all unrepentant adulterers and adulteresses go.

  • Mb

    I find it funny that you want to say ugly things about a wonderful women whom you know nothing about. If you are not Eric or Mae you have no way of knowing what their relationship was, they were friends who enjoyed riding together. Since you are so quick to send them to hell and make assumptions, you must be without any sin of your own. Ye who are without sin, cast the first stone. Maybe you should read the Bible and see how perfect you are before you preach about others going to hell.

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