Longform

Motorcycle club members and weekend warriors, seeking the freedom of the road, face dangerous curves on and off Dallas streets

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"I'm glad I don't carry a gun because God only knows what would happen if I come across irresponsible people again."

Through shared tears and therapeutic beers, the Bastards are emotionally rehabbing. Resiliency is a vital part of the process.

Retaliation is not.

Though Sterling Mitchell, who did not respond to an interview request, arrogantly posted "Live my life to the fullest, no regrets no bullshit..." to his Facebook page less than two weeks after playing a prominent role in the Santos accident and though Pyburn, who also declined an interview, remains a suspect in the ongoing investigation, Voodoo bristles when asked about possible punishment levied on the two by his club.

"We are first and foremost law-abiding citizens," he says. "Our patch carries with it the stigma of being some of society's rejects, but we aren't a club that goes looking for trouble. We will defend each other and ourselves, but we won't provoke. In Rico's case we figure in the end justice will prevail."

While Lacey and Loran are back in school and living with relatives in the metroplex, the Bastards are attempting to leave the tragedy in their dust without clouding Rico's legacy.

All members are wearing commemorative "Rico & Lela" forever patches, last Saturday there was a bike blessing at Big Tony's complete with raffles benefiting the Santos children and on March 19 at Hank's in McKinney, the Bastards will throw a "Bikers Against Road Rage" concert, party and fundraiser. There are reminders all around that things have changed, and may never be the same again.

Scrape, who avoided the black Lexus by intentionally laying his bike down and sliding to relative safety, has an ugly, perhaps permanent road-rash scar all along his left arm, a one-inch deep gouge in his helmet and a rebuilt bike after the accident caused $10,300 worth of damage. And Rico's sister Lisa has a new appreciation for the passion of her brother and his brothers.

"It's still nice to go out and just ride," says Lisa, who rode in the Teddy Bear Run on the back of a Bastard bike with her brother's boot and urn in tow. "There's nothing like being with this group and feeling the wind and the sun and the world. These guys are my extended family and bikes are an extension of them. It took me a while to come to grips with it, but my brother's wreck was fate. It wasn't like the bike physically got up and killed them. It could've just as easily happened in a car."

That said, Lisa has grudgingly added an accessory to her bike-wear. Over her stylish, sequined bandanna is now a helmet.

"I know it's not the law, but it's a chance you take," she says. "To me it's not worth the risk anymore."

As most clubs do in times of adversity, the Bastards are back on their bikes. Born to ride and danger be damned, they continually seek escape—if not peace—in a world where peril in the form of everything from the elements to their enemies is only a hiccup away.

"Danger's everywhere, not just on a motorcycle. It's a part of life," says a solemn Mongo over a beer at Duke's. "We're not some renegade group looking to always get drunk and get in fights. We're just like-minded guys who'd rather die at 50 having a great time on the road rather than sitting on some couch wasting away playing video games and being miserable until we're 80. Rico was full of life. Loved to have fun. Loved his family. Loved us. And he loved to ride his bike."

You were supposed to hear that from Rico.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt