West Newport Pike closed by police as mourners converge for motorcyclist tribute


William Bretzger

Police closed Route 4 (West Newport Pike) in both directions near Newport Thursday evening as dozens of people converged to mourn at the site of an accident that left a Wilmington motorcyclist dead the night prior.

Mourners spelled out the 24-year-old man's nickname, "Gwak," in candles at the intersection with Westmont Avenue and scrawled in spray paint among dozens of other candles lining the road as motorcyclists and other motorists started gathering around 8 p.m.

Burnout streaks were left in the road but the motorists had mostly departed to leave the intersection to police and mourners on foot by 9 p.m.

Delaware State Police said the man killed in the crash, whom they have not identified, was traveling east on Route 4 shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday when the driver of a Saturn traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn at Westmont Avenue into the motorcyclist's path, causing the motorcycle to strike the Saturn. 

More than two dozen police stood by or rerouted traffic as the crowd mingled at the corner, some sharing hugs, others leaving balloons and liquor bottles in tribute.

At 10 p.m. a Delaware State Police officer directed the crowd to break up. "Thank you very much tonight, very sorry for your loss," she told the remaining mourners. "Let's just go ahead and clear out. No burnouts, either, OK? Safely leave, OK?"

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