Deceased motorcycle driver identified

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Courtesy/Denton Police Department
An orange Harley-Davidson motorcycle is shown on its side Sunday evening in the 2200 block of Fort Worth Drive after an accident killed its rider, 55-year-old Johnny Brown of Ponder.
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The 55-year-old motorcycle rider who died in a Sunday evening traffic crash has been identified as Johnny Brown of Ponder.

He was riding southbound in the 2200 block of Fort Worth Drive about 5:50 p.m. when a black Honda Pilot pulled out in front of him without yielding, Denton police said. Brown struck the driver's side of the vehicle before he was ejected from his orange Harley-Davidson. He died on the scene.

The 21-year-old woman who was driving the Honda, as well as her 20-year-old passenger, were not injured in the crash, Denton police spokesman Shane Kizer said. He said he did not know whether distracted driving played a role in the crash.

"We haven't seen anything showing that there was anything distracting [the driver of the Honda]," Kizer said.

According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2015, compared to 4,594 in 2014 -- an 8 percent increase. But the number of injured motorcyclists decreased by about 3 percent in the same time period. The report said 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2015, while 92,000 were injured the previous year.

Police said Brown was not wearing a helmet during the crash. Although Kizer said a helmet likely would not have made a difference in Sunday's crash, the Texas Department of Transportation tracks the number of motorcyclists who wore helmets during fatal crashes.

In Texas, 459 people died riding motorcycles in 2015, and 240 were not wearing a helmet, according to statistics from TxDOT. In 2014, 467 motorcyclists died, 232 of whom were not wearing a helmet, the data showed.

Immediately after Brown struck the car on Sunday, nearby witnesses tried to resuscitate him. Jim Roberts, a retired local orthodontist, was driving directly behind Brown when the motorcycle collided with the Honda at about 35 mph, he said.

"It was just so quick that [Brown] didn't have time to brake," Roberts said. "I just handed my cellphone to my wife, and I said 'you call 911.' And I just jumped out of the car and ran over there. When I went over there, I thought, 'Wow, this is bad.'"

Roberts said he and another man performed CPR on Brown before police and fire authorities arrived on the scene. Brown was pronounced dead within seconds, he said.

"I didn't do anything heroic," Roberts said. "I just did what anyone else would do."

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @juliangillmusic.

On Twitter:  @juliangillmusic

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