I was supposed to meet Ernie Santos Saturday morning at Twin Peaks in McKinney.
I'm digging into an Observer cover story on metroplex motorcycle clubs/gangs and he, being a member of the Dirty Bastards, invited me to a sort of meet 'n greet with his crew. Seems one of their members was recently involved in a crash, and they were holding a bikini car/bike wash to raise him some cash.
Early Saturday I texted Ernie to double-check the time. But he didn't text me back. He'll never text me back.
Ernie Santos and his wife, Elisa, were killed around 2:15 a.m. Saturday morning in a motorcycle crash on Central Expressway.
According to friends who were riding with them and Richardson police, a white pickup - yep, a white truck - was driving erratically on 75 north. For no apparent reason the Mitsubishi Strada then stopped in the middle of the highway. A Lexus swerved to miss the truck, but Ernie and Elisa couldn't miss the Lexus.
Inexplicably - criminally - the white truck that commenced the chain-reaction of chaos then drove off. Elisa died at the scene. Ernie passed away from his injuries the next afternoon.
The Santos family - Puerto Rican and as close as any group I've ever been around - is strong. Still, it's difficult explaining to Ernie and Elisa's 13- and 5-year-old daughters that mommy and daddy won't be coming home.
If you want to donate funds to either of the daughters:
Bank of America
TX UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act)
Accounts: Loran Patterson (13) or Lacey Santos (5)
I know it's not safe to ride motorcycles without helmets and we'll hear the tired, old criticism that "nothing good ever happens after 2 a.m." But Ernie worked hard. Played hard. Rode hard. And, in the end, he died hard.
"He died doing what he loved," says his sister, Lisa. "And he died doing it with the one he loved."
Recently we were in a text war, me and my love for the Texas Rangers and Ernie and his damn Yankees. After the Rangers' sweep he finally, temporarily bowed:
"OK, you got us good," he wrote. "For now I tip my cap. But in the playoffs, you can't beat us."
While we bury Ernie and Elisa Saturday, police are still looking for the driver of the white truck and they need your help. If you were driving or were around 75 northbound just south of Bush Turnpike last Friday night/Saturday and saw a white truck driving erratically, contact Richardson Police at 972-744-4800.
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Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich says the driver of the truck could face charges, including failure to stop and render aid.
"Who knows what the deal is with him?" Perlich said. "You just don't stop in the middle of Central Expressway and then take off."
I'll miss Ernie's texts. I'll miss his biting comments on this blog. I'll miss ragging on him when the Rangers play the Yankees.
Most of all, I miss not meeting him last Saturday at Twin Peaks in McKinney. If he was there, he'd still be here.