Motorcyclist killed in crash

Published 6:07 pm Monday, December 31, 2018

A motorcyclist was killed Saturday afternoon when a motorist turned into his path of travel.

Brandon Marshall Miller, 30, of Albemarle was killed around 2 p.m. while riding a vintage ‘76 Kawasaki on N.C. Highway 740. He struck a 2005 GMC Sierra pickup truck, driven by Penny Harkey, 56. She was turning into a driveway at the time of the crash, according to Albemarle police Chief Danny Bowen.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. Police will confer with the District Attorney before filing any charges, Bowen added.

A funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Hartsell Funeral Home’s Lefler Memorial Chapel. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from noon to 2:45 p.m. At other times, the family will receive friends at 2914 Clover Fork Circle in Albemarle.

Family and friends have been gathering to remember the life of Brandon.

Jeff Miller, the victim’s father, described his son as an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping.

“He lived free. He lived fun,” Jeff Miller said. “He wasn’t the life of the party, he was the party.”

When Brandon wasn’t riding motorcycles, he was on an impromptu excursion.

“On a whim he’d up and go to Colorado,” his father added.

Brandon also traveled to Wyoming, camping at Yellowstone National Park.

Ginger Miller, Brandon’s mother, described her son’s youth as “shy” and a “mama’s boy.”

“He’d sit back and watch his brother make friends because he was shy and then he came into his own,” she said.

Once he got older Brandon became adventurous, she added.

Everyone who knew Brandon remembered him as the “jokester” who kept everybody loose and with a smile on their face.

“He laughed at himself as much as anybody,” Jeff said.

“Brandon was one of a kind,” cousin Heather Broadway added. “He was going to make you happy when he walked into the room.”

Friends said Brandon was always dependable, the first to lend a hand and always the one who showed up.

“He was one of those people who you could count on,” said friend Dakota “Cooter” Whitley, adding he and Brandon “might as well have been brothers.”

“He was an awesome guy,” added Justin Cole, a friend and former roommate. “Of all our friends, he was always the guy you’d call” for help.

A North Stanly High School graduate, Brandon was employed at East Albemarle Towing.

Brandon was a motorcycle enthusiast who preferred retro-style bikes. At the time of his death, he was returning from a ride to Morrow Mountain State Park on one such bike.

On Saturday a group of motorcyclists will have a memorial ride as a tribute to Brandon while raising awareness for motorcycle safety. Spearheaded by Ethan Helms, the ride is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Hwy. 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries restaurant at 750-A Leonard Ave. in Albemarle.

Plans call for the ride to leave the eatery and stop at the scene of Brandon’s fatal crash. Family and friends will join the group for a prayer. Riders will next drive to MMSP and then back to Hwy. 55 for a meal. Ten percent of the lunch’s proceeds will go toward Brandon’s funeral expenses.

T-shirts will be available as plans include making the memorial ride an annual event, called Look Twice Save a Life. It is aimed at raising awareness for motorcycle safety.