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Article on front page of Northern Star:
Friday, April 2, 2004

Funeral service for former NIU student to be held Saturday

Article by:
Nicholas Alajakis - Senior Reporter
• nalajakis@northernstar.info

Funeral services for former NIU student leader Kevin Knight will be held Saturday at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in his hometown of Aurora.

Knight, 29, died Tuesday evening from head injuries sustained during a weekend motorcycle accident in DeKalb.

Knight, a 2000 graduate of NIU, spent his college days as a member of many organizations, including the Student Association, in which he served as vice president for more than a semester. He also was a part of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

After graduation, Knight began working at Pfizer Inc., a pharmaceutical company, where he remained until his death.

A family and friends hour will be held at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, 142 S. Fourth St., Aurora, from 9 to 10 a.m. Funeral services will follow at 10 a.m. and will be officiated by the Rev. Jesse Hawkins.

Knight’s family is asking that all monetary donations be made in his name to the Naperville Humane Society, 1260 Diehl Road, Naperville, IL, 60563, said the Rev. Ovester Armstrong, the family’s spokesman.

Knight is survived by his parents and his sister.

© 2004 Northern Star. All Rights Reserved.

Your Voice

Reader sympathizes, urges riding safety

I would just like to give my sympathy to the family and friends of Kevin Knight, who died from the motorcycle crash on Saturday. When I wrote my first piece that was printed in Wednesday’s Northern Star, I had no idea that he had died or was in such poor condition. I don’t believe I could have written what I did had I known this.

When I heard that he had passed, I felt terrible, but when I went to work Wednesday, I found out that one of his friends had come in to thank me for writing what I did and for getting the word out about how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be. Unfortunately, I was not in when he came in, but others in the shop told me that he was very appreciative for what I had written.

This goes to show that there are many people out there who realize the dangers of riding without a helmet and the right gear, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be the majority who see this. Hopefully this will really open some eyes and more people will take the necessary steps for safety on a motorcycle. Again, I offer my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Kevin Knight.

Matt Entwistle
Senior, corporate communication

Your Voice
Be responsible when riding a motorcycle

In Monday’s Northern Star there was a large picture of a motorcycle crash on Lincoln Highway that took place Saturday. The picture and small description underneath really hit home for me because I was one of the last people to talk the man involved in that wreck — literally minutes before he crashed.

I work at a local motorcycle shop that had been storing that bike for him until spring. When he came to pick up his bike, he paid for the storage fee and the tune-up that comes with it, but was shocked at how much the tune-up was. After he said he was surprised with how much it was, he said something to the likes of, “Good thing I didn’t want to buy a helmet!”

Not five minutes later he pulled out of our parking lot and headed toward town. He red-lined first gear, red-lined second gear and hit third until we heard him let off. If you don’t know about how fast a bike like his can go at that rate, he was easily going more than 100 miles per hour. We at the shop figured he just let off and was slowing down. That is, until a policeman pulled in and asked us about him. While taking statements from those of us who last saw him, the ambulance sped by, and he told us that the rider didn’t look like he had much of a chance of living after hitting his head numerous times against the pavement. I won’t even go into the graphic detail the officer used to describe the scene of the crash, but let’s just say the word “splatter” was used. And it was all because he wasn’t wearing a helmet and wasn’t riding above his head.

Now, I was pleased to find out that he survived, but he was very lucky. The reason I wrote in is to let all motorcyclists see how dangerous their riding can be. I’m not here to tell them to stop; I race motocross myself and have had my fair share of injuries, including a broken wrist last summer. But I want to get the point out that riding a motorcycle is dangerous.

I literally get angry every day when some kid with a upside-down visor and no experience on two wheels at all besides his old Huffy comes in and wants to buy a “crotch rocket.” I get even more mad when I see (and usually hear) that same kid riding up and down Annie Glidden Road, Lucinda Avenue or Lincoln Highway in sandals, shorts and the all-important upside-down visor. Sport bikes are designed to go fast, but not in straight lines. The reason they are so aerodynamic and suspended so well is so they can corner, and I’m not talking about the corner of Annie Glidden Road and Lincoln Highway.

If you want something that goes fast in a straight line, go buy a muscle car and take it to the strip on the weekend. Another reason these guys get rockets is because they think girls like them and are impressed. I’ll never understand how going 100 mph down a perfectly straight street on a bike that can go 75 mph in first gear is impressive; anyone can twist their right wrist.

To those of you whom I am describing who are reading this and are getting mad about it: good. You are just the next in line, and maybe this will open your eyes. For those of you who are saying that I have no right to say this, well I’ll just let my 10 years of motorcycle riding and racing and four years of motorcycle shop work speak for itself.

And for those of you who are actually responsible when it comes to motorcycle riding, wear a helmet and know what and what not to do on the street. I ask you to keep doing what you’re doing and try to inform others about the responsibility of riding a motorcycle.

Matt Entwistle
Senior, corporate