Hello, my name is Athena and I’m reaching out on behalf of this beloved man. Victor and I have a long history fighting for our lives together, and I am doing everything in my power to support him through this. He's often been handed the short end of the stick in life and whilst I can't go back and tell him not to ride his motorcycle that night, I can get everyone I reach to hear his story.
It's a long, worthwhile story.
Monday November 27th 2023 he invited me on a ride with another mutual friend of ours. He said he did not want to ride by himself, that he loved me and despite everything that has gone on in our lives, he wanted to be together and ride.
I met them at the Wawa on Gandy, st Pete side. We debated on a route for a few minutes then up towards Ocala we went. It was a full highway route that entailed several bridges, corners and curves. I had only been on this route with him one other time, him several.
Ironically enough I got major anxiety the first time we rode this route, and I had to pull us over to calm down.
Over Gandy, over the bridges, over downtown Tampa towards Brandon we went. On the exit of 78th street on the Expressway, Vic zooms ahead of my "slow" 65mph self and I watched him disappear in front of two cars.
A couple seconds go by, then the overwhelming amount of brake lights from every car in front of me was immediately enough to know something was wrong. I was already screaming at this point.
I pulled up to his mutilated bike on my intact one, dropping the kickstand and tossing my phone. I couldn't see him. Drivers started to rush towards me and I tore off my helmet and tossed it on the ground as I began to frantically pace the bridge looking.
The only thing that mattered was finding him. It was also the point I realized we were on an overpass of 40-50ft above the surface streets.
The commotion between the drivers began and I overheard someone say he went over. I screamed his name. I cried and begged as I couldn’t see my one. It was like he disappeared into thin air. Unfortunately falling off the edge was a much worse reality.
I couldn’t find him. I ran down the hill onto the surface streets. I burrowed through the woods covered in sand spurs begging and pleading for him to call back and tell me he’s okay. It was an absolute blur of how many cops showed up, who was asking me questions about who he was, if he was wearing a helmet, if I saw what happened. Our third rider was by my side the whole time.
A Tampa deputy found him. Behind a gate mangled in brush. I ran down to the surface street for the 100th time from the bridge and screamed ‘I’m here, I’m here’. Three cops came after me and I didn’t stop. I ran right through two more as if they weren’t there, but they got me. They held me as I fell to the ground in a mess of tears. The cop said "Hey! Hey he's still alive!" I could tell he was surprised, but it was then I realized I already knew that. Not once did it cross my mind that his soul left me.
They essentially dragged me back across the street as I cried over how much I loved him and how he needed to know I was there. I needed him to know so bad that he was loved and he needed to fight. It was our mutual friend who sat behind me in the grass and held me. I held her so tight.
Another Tampa officer was generous enough to take me to Tampa General where Victor was transported to. They gave me his backpack, and I nabbed the bent key from his bike. His fate was unknown to me, and walking away without a piece of him to get through the next several hours wasn’t something I was going to let happen.
I was blessed with the company of two of Victors friends, the man who loaded my bike from the scene, and my Mama and friends on the phone. His dad and I bonded over the most unwanted circumstances, but all can agree on how loved Victor is.
Victor fell around 50ft into a tree. The tree and helmet saved his life. Between fractures and breaks and bruises and bleeding, he’s pulling through like the strong man he is.
The bikes are dangerous. My story is not unique. I am aware of how rare it actually is to be sitting next to him in this moment while he breathes and heals. I am so grateful for it.But for Vic, the motorcycle gave him freedom. It not only became a passion but an avenue for emotional relief. Victor is a strong man, the strongest I’ve ever known. And it’s not because of his physical strength but rather is soft and caring heart.
He has to get through this. Lord knows the trauma and the pain he is suffering right now. I’ve been where he is in a different way. But I remember the tubes in my throat and banging against the bed with the only hand I could move. I can empathize with him knowing that he CAN get through this. I had an army supporting me between prayer, financial, and emotional support. He needs it too.
For as long as I’ve known him Victor has begged life for peace. For happiness and for relief. He started to doubt it exists for him. In the midst of all the darkness I know he has purpose in staying here; peace exists for him on earth.