Witness says motorcyclists popped wheelies before fatal crash: ‘Everything just burst into a ball of flames’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For decades, S. East St. near National Ave. has been a traditional weekend night cruising corridor as motorcyclists rev their engines and car enthusiasts show off their rides.

Saturday night, a witness told us he was watching a pair of motorcyclists pop wheelies and weave in and out of each other’s path.

“We kind of made the comment, ‘Oh boy, see what happens,’ he said. “About two minutes afterwards, we noticed a couple motorcycles doing some stunt riding. A bicycle pulled out in front of them.

“They had just crossed the intersection. The bicyclist actually went out into the street. There was nothing the motorcyclists could do at that time considering what they were doing. They made impact with the bicyclist,” the man said.

The witness said the northbound motorcyclists collided, one man was thrown free, the other trapped in the wreckage.  The bicyclist and one of the motorcyclists died. Two of the other motorcyclists were sent to the hospital, one in critical condition.

The bicyclist was launched into the southbound lanes where an approaching motorcyclist swerved to avoid the downed rider, lost control and that bike slid into the crashed motorcycles.

“Everything just burst into a ball of flames,” said the witness. “I ran up there with a couple friends of mine seeing if anything could be done. There was one motorcyclist down on the ground. He was in pretty rough shape. There was another gentleman on fire with the motorcycles that were all grouped up together. We tried to get to him but the fire was just way too hot.”

“There was another gentleman there that tried to aid. He got really close to the fire but I think it was too hot for him also. He reached and tried to pull him out of the fire but it just didn’t work,” he said.

The witness said a passing tow truck driver made a futile attempt to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

“It was very hard to watch. It was very hard to see,” he recalled.

IMPD typically defers to the Marion County Coroner to announce the identities of the crash victims. The victims have not been identified yet.

Officers also recovered two handguns from the scene.