Story originally seen in Journal/Sentinel Online
Travis Meyer had one request for his father: “Don’t let Mom see the video.”
“After a couple days it was like, well, that’s not going to be possible. He was on three TV stations,” dad Brian said.
It’s hard to watch but impossible to look away from the fast-moving images. Two videos, actually, were captured on helmet-mounted cameras during a group motorcycle ride the sunny afternoon of April 16 on Highway 21 between Omro and Redgranite.
They show a small dog running out onto the highway and being hit by a rider, Brandon Ullrich, who then flies off his bike at highway speed. Travis was riding behind Brandon, and he dumped his bike, too, to avoid hitting him.
If that’s not terrifying enough, a semitrailer truck in the oncoming lane just misses Travis, who slid into its path but is somehow able to jump out of the way at the last second.
And it’s all captured forever to watch online again and again. Millions have already.
“I’m to the point where I can’t hardly watch it anymore,” Brian said. He and his wife, Marilyn, live in Appleton, as does Travis, who is 27, single and works as a machinist.
Marilyn worried about her son riding motorcycles. You know how parents want to believe they can keep their children safe, even the grown ones. She saw the video.
“It took a couple days before it sunk in what happened. And then I couldn’t even think straight,” she said.
Travis came away from the accident with some gouges on his palm and a bruised hip. Brandon, of Seymour, also was not seriously injured. The dog died on impact.
For several days, Travis was anxious, disoriented and found he kept repeating himself. His boss told him to take the week off.
“I watched the video way more than I should have,” he said. “By the middle of the first week, I said to one of my buddies, ‘You know what, this would have been much easier if there were no video.'”
“It just went crazy. I was getting like 15 friend requests every five minutes on Facebook for the first two days. It was nuts.”
Travis briefly met the driver of the semi, Tom Swendrzynski, at the accident scene. Travis and his family and friends got together with the trucker later in April to thank him for doing his best to veer to the right and avoid hitting Travis.
Travis and Tom share the sense that either could have died that day. If Travis had not leaped to safety, Tom said he would have steered farther right to avoid hitting him. “When a truck like that goes into a ditch, bad things happen,” he said.