A male motorcyclist and his female passenger died after hitting a big-rig truck on the northbound Golden State Freeway at Branford Street near Pacoima. The two, believed to be in their 40s, were pronounced dead at the scene. Prior to the start, Leno, who was acting as the Grand Marshal of the parade, made a tongue in cheek reference to the event’s impressive safety record. ”Every year, [the organizer] says, ‘Drive safe.” “I’m gonna say, ‘Don’t drive safe.’ I wanna see somebody go down. So it’ll be fun. I want it to be in front or behind me and see a whole row of bikes go down. Get drunk, fall off the road. We’ve all become too damn polite…we haven’t had one incident.”
According to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News, Leno helped an unnamed motorcyclist who wrecked and accompanied him to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. The hospital did not release the name of the injured motorcyclist or his condition. * UPDATED According to Motorcycleusa.com, the injured man was Tom Kershaw, an associate of Leno, and was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Founded in 1984 by Oliver Shokouh, owner of Glendale Harley-Davidson, the Love Ride benefits Autism Speaks, a New York-based autism research and advocacy group.
Jay Leno nor his publicist, Dick Guttman was immediately available for comment and the comedian has not issued a statement regarding his pre-ride joke or the accident.