Friend remembers motorcycle crash victim

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 24 2014 04:03:24 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 24 2014 06:25:00 PM EST

A motorcycle crash in Mandarin claims a young life, too soon. Friends and family are remembering Robert Bentley.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A friend of a 25-year-old man killed on his motorcycle last week said he died doing what he loved.

Robert Bentley III died Thursday morning on Old St. Augustine Road when he tried to avoid hitting a garbage truck that pulled out in front of him. Police are investigating and no charges have been filed.

Robert Eberhart said he knew Bentley for 14 years and they were always the two Roberts. He said he misses his friend terribly.

"Very passionate about wheels," Eberhart said. "Put him on anything with wheels. He loved to drive, he loved to ride."

Eberhart said his longtime friend had a love for riding his motorcycle and skateboarding at the beach.

"Pretty much anything he could do to stay active, go out and about, meet people," Eberhart said. "He had friends almost anywhere he went."

Waste Pro, the company of the garbage truck driver who pulled out in front of Bentley, said it is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation. It issued a statement that says, in part:

"Truly our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Robert Bentley. No one can be prepared for something like this. This has had a devastating effect on our driver and employees at the Jacksonville location as well."

The company went on to say its drivers complete detailed training courses before starting the job, and this is a tragedy no one expected.

Channel 4 safety analyst Ken Jefferson said it's easy for a motorcyclist to get tucked away in a person's blind spot.

"Even if they looked in the mirror and it seems clear, it never hurts to look over their shoulder and make sure that lane is clear," Jefferson said.

Eberhart said Bentley was constantly telling people to smile.

"The worst thing he could ever see anyone do is cry and he would be the first one with his arm around you," he said.

A visitation for Bentley will be held Tuesday and his funeral Wednesday. Eberhart said friends are trying to help the family raise money for the funeral and are selling shirts for $15 this month. If you're interested, send a message to Robert Eberhart or Robert Bentley's Facebook pages for inquiry or email Bertactive@gmail.com.

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