Northville Motorcyclist Dies in Accident

Willard Combs, 40, of Northville, died after his Harley Davidson—which had apparently broken down—was hit by a Ford Taurus in Salem Township. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

A Northville man has died after his motorcycle was hit by a car in Salem Township on Friday, according to a press release from the Michigan State Police.

Willard Combs, 40, died after his Harley Davidson—which had apparently broken down—was hit by a Ford Taurus in the southbound lane of Pontiac Trail, just north of Five Mile Road.

State police said Combs, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from the motorcycle and into the windshield of the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the car, 22-year-old Sarah Patton of South Lyon, suffered minor injuries and sought her own treatment, police said. Patton was wearing her seat belt.

Police said alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

In addition, police said the investigation into the crash continues and did not have any further information as of this posting.

Mitch Morrison August 05, 2012 at 08:56 AM
So true ! This is manslaughter.They make her out to be a saint because she had her seat belt on.Isn't that the law ? He wasn't wearing a helmet.Isn't it the law he didn't have to.Lastly sitting on a broken down motorcycle makes you a pedestrian.Hello !
Tami V. August 05, 2012 at 01:48 PM
This young lady immediatly got out of her car and ran to assist this man , spoke to 911 on the phone and tried everything in her power to save him, I was there with her. She tried to save him until EMS showed up which seemed like forever. Once we realized how devastating his injuries were , she went in shock and was collasping. She was extremely disturbed by this , and had no time to react to his appearance in the road. As you all know Pontiac trail is 55 miles per hour and has hills and valleys. So before you know this young lady was neglegient , don't be chastising her. This whole accident is an " accident " , good people make bad decisions that can change lives forever. How many of you changed a radio station , or even answered your phone, looked down a second to press a button or pick up something, How about all of you who look back to say something to your kids. It only takes a brief moment. We cried at the scene. She and I talked to this man with his devastating injuries , he was not left alone, we cared and she cared about what happened. I feel so bad for this man and his family , and for Sara and her mother who had to come to assist her. I hope they find out the truth and just by knowing this lady under these circumstances I'm sure she will take what is punishable to her by law . Now to Willard , RIP , I know you were a good man . To all of you , wear a helmet it can make the difference between life and death. And remove your vehicle from the road ASAP.
Amber K August 05, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Does anyone know if the motorcycle was stopped in the road or on the shoulder?
Jo Poma Parker August 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Blame and proper prosecution should be put where the fault of the accident lies and thats the driver dont make any excuses about what others may do while driving thats irrelevant here its what she was doing while driving thats relevant here she was obviously in the wrong the helmet and the seatbelt dont matter they were both following the law under that circumstance but she was not paying attention to her surroundings reguardless if the road is full of hills and valleys or the speed YOU driving the car are responsible for your driving and being aware of your surroundings the motorcyclist was stopped? and she still hit him that is man slaughter period It was her neglect that caused this to happen obiously her attention was else where or she would have seen him. Helmets actually do more harm than good all it is is a carrying case for your brains in an accident. There was a reason it was made a choice to wear or not to wear.
EBC August 05, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Tami, I think the last sentence in your comment is going to be the key on whether or not charges are filed. Fox2 Video Story is reporting that his bike broke down in the road and he was trying to restart it from the road. So sad. Also, thank you for sharing your experience, im sure it was very traumatic for everyone who was witness to this accident.
lisa d August 05, 2012 at 09:24 PM
First of all i know exactly where it happened and there arent no hills or curves in that area for awhile..She wasnt paying attention at what or who was in front of her.She took my friend, my husbands brother a son and a father cuz she wasnt paying attention bottom line.. the only good thing about what was said is she tried to help him and he wasnt left alone
Cait August 05, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Any human being would try and help, i was just at the site where it happened....which was far away from any hill. There was plenty of time to stop, which she would have if she looked where she was going. there were tiny skid marks showing that she barley attempted to break. A person can feel bad after the fact but she obviously did not care about his life before or she would have been paying attention to the road. A helment would of not made a difference with that type of impact.
Truth Seeker August 06, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Tami V., I have no doubt in my heart that Sara is a good person. I would expect a good person to act no different then the way you describe her acting. What you say at the end of sentence 4 into 5 makes no sense. The posted speed limit, type of road, seatbelt, no helmet, makes no difference. What does make a difference is that Sara (good person) FAILED to have her vehicle under control. That negligence took the life of Willard (good Person). You also state that good people make bad decisions, implying that Sara (good person) made a bad decision. That is a correct implication. This was not just “an ACCIDENT”. I feel you and anyone else that thinks this way should put Sara on the bike and Willard in the car. Get it now? I can see the headlines myself. I would like to THANK YOU for all that you did consoling Sara and caring for Willard at the unnecessary tragic last moments of his life. I pray that justice does prevail for Willard (GOOD PERSON) and his family. Sara, sometimes life lessons are hard learned. I’m sure you know this now. Willard, I know Luke was waiting for you with open arms. You are riding together once again. BUT, all too soon. God Bless All, Friend of an Avenger’s wife.
Truth Seeker August 06, 2012 at 01:42 AM
All of the above
Angle August 06, 2012 at 02:22 AM
So Sarah will take the whatever punishment that is deamed by the law? She will not hire a lawyer to negotiate on her behalf for the least amount of punishment as possible? Too bad Willy couldn't negotiate for his life. Am I supposed to feel some sympathy for her because she was collapsing? Today she still breaths. Willy does not. Due to her neglagence, I lost a very dear and close friend. With the court systems today, she probably will not get the full punishment deamable by law. So sad Willy had to pay for her "bad decision" with his life. My prayers go out to his family and all his brothers. An Avengers Wife.
Sister in mourning August 06, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Amen, This was not an accident, it was a tragedy!!! Whether he was in the road or not, helmet or not, don't you normally slow down when something is in front of you, stopped or going? Obviously, she was not paying attention to what was in front of her! I do feel for her, but it makes no difference, she was in command of her own fate! And now a very good friend of mine is gone! RIP Willard, you will be missed very much! Everyone please be safe on the road, and you people you drive cars, WATCH OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES!!!!!!!! you might be taking the life of a father, brother, son, mother, daughter, sister!!!!!! P.S You are right about Luke, RIP miss him too!
Dar August 06, 2012 at 02:55 AM
An accident is just as it states, an accident. Many lives were changed because of it. It will not bring your loved one back by all the nasty words and blame. This girl will never be the same because of what happened. Dont you think that is punishment in itself. Do you think she got in her car and said who can i kill today?? No one will ever know what the circumstances were unless they were there in her car so quit the speculations and blaming, it wont bring your loved one back. And pray that none of your family members are ever involved in an accident themselves where someone is killed because of a mistake they made behind the wheel. What more punishment is there then having to know that you were involved in an accident that took someones life. It is devistating!!
Elsa Hutske August 06, 2012 at 03:20 AM
You STILL go to jail for an accident! I DO know this area - PAY ATTENTION, furthermore, this young SHOULD have been distraught! SHE KILLED SOMEONE! Im SO glad you were there with her! WILLIE DIED ALONE!
Elsa Hutske August 06, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Are you KIDDING me? Negligence is punishable and PROSCRIBED by the LAW! I havent read ONE comment saying "nasty" things about poor, distraught Sarah! Only the FACT that she MESSED up BAD! With that said I would like you, DAR, to know the FIRST People I prayed for after Willie and his family were "the girl" and her family! Please KEEP praying for the girl who changed so many lives August third, 2012 - shes going to need them because she MUST be charged. Also, dont assume we are solely responding out of our grief. It may have changed her - it SHOULD have changed her! SHE KILLED A MAN! Our system doesnt say "awww, she feels real bad - thats enough punishment" ...you DO know that, right? There are a lt of people in jail who feel REAL bad about what got them there.
Elsa Hutske August 06, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Small town girl. Family in insurance sales. Active in Knights of Columbus...hmmm - wonder how well the responding police knows the family?
Elsa Hutske August 06, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Its rural - not enuff for a bicycle
Elsa Hutske August 06, 2012 at 03:55 AM
So if I run out of gas in a rural area without a wide enough shoulder to pull off and someone rear ends my car and hurts me, its not negligent? HER TEXTING history and cell phone usage will probably be KEY, maam.
tjwarden August 06, 2012 at 05:26 AM
This was are uncle that she took from us!! and she will pay for what she did.. we miss himso much this just isnt far.. Sarah Patton took our loved one from us and so sad he spent his last breaths with some one who he didn't even know!!
Denise NOWICKI August 06, 2012 at 05:32 AM
They had to post NO Helmet?! so what, he was broke down!! I would love to really know what she was doing so she could not stop!!! I know someone who recently rear ended someone (all ok) because she did not hear the fire truck so the traffic had stopped before her, but her 9 year old who was in the backseat, hit the windshield and was slightly injured, her excuse, my kids won't put them on.... what!............ who is the mother here? I still wonder why MOM, could not stop in time, as said earlier, maybe TEXTING!???? so sorry to hear this, god bless and my condolences to his family. wake up DRIVERS!!!!!!!!!
John Hetzler (Editor) August 06, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Comments were deleted from this story for violating the Patch Terms of Use: http://northville.patch.com/terms
mslockard August 06, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Accidents happen. And as tragic as this one is, I wish he had his helmet on, and had pulled off to the side... and that Sarah had seen him sooner.... but we can't turn back the clock. We can only pray for the healing. For all of Willard's friends and family. For Sarah and her family... May God bless them all with peace and healing. It will take a long time for all of them.
Truth Seeker August 06, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Dar, You state that Willard has died because of a mistake that Sara made behind the wheel of a car. Keep talking! Willard could have been sitting there to make a left hand turn instead of being broke down. CLEARLY, Sara did not have control of her vehicle when she "REAR ENDED" Willard on his bike. Period!
AFFA August 07, 2012 at 12:08 AM
That girl like many other in cars or trucks, never see people on motorcycles ..If she was paying attention my brother would still be here ,bottom line ..It just hurts my heart that my brother died with out his family and friends around him .He didn't deserve to die like this ..Willy , I Love You Brother . AFFA
Jo Poma Parker August 08, 2012 at 10:32 PM
yes accidents happen, but, this was neglect. She neglected having her car under control had she been paying attention to her surroundings it is the responsibility of the driver to always have car under control which she FAILED. Had you been paying attention to the other posters there are no shoulders on the road not even enough for a bicycle. Ive seen on FB a comment how can anyone miss a 300lb man on an 800lb bike with a big Yellow patch on his back. its simply this she wasnt paying attention obviously. Barely any skid marks because she got that close and didnt see him period? I dont feel one bit sorry for this girl. It was her neglect that took this mans life. And you wish he had a helmet on he wasnt breaking any law its his choice whether he wore one or not. And hitting someone when you barely have time to stop the impact he received a helmet would not have helped him. People need to quit making excuses for this sarah she was neglectful and should pay the full price vehicular manslaughter. Had the roles been reversed you better believe they would be harder on a biker driving a car and her being on the bike. Just cause she is a little church girl dont mean she shouldnt be punished to the full extent
wayde August 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
The posted speed limit is 50; there is a sign just south of five mile. It is a shame that she hit him when his vehicle broke down. I have had my bike stall when driving and would hope that someone would see me before hitting me, particularly since there are quite a few houses with driveways in that area and they were approaching an intersection. There really is no shoulder but in any event he might not have had time to even try to restart or push it.
wayde August 10, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The posted speed limit is 50 not 55. The motorcycle was stopped. They were approaching an intersection. There are many houses in the area with driveways.
wayde August 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
There is no shoulder -- google it.
I AM ME August 23, 2012 at 02:28 AM
What a sad, sad story. i don't know either party involved but i pray for both sides. poor Willy and his family. as far as those Sarah girl i agree that she should be fully punished. like many other comments before, SHE WAS NEGLEGENTand obviously not paying attention..SHE IS AT FAULT AND SHOULD BE PUNISHED, BOTTOM LINE!!!
I AM ME August 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Paul p November 04, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Willard was my best friend in high school and I see him every two months when I deliver to his house and the same month he was hit I was hit and run on my motorcycle, I just found out he passed I found out the hard way - from his dad in his own words " I don't know what I'm gonna do Paul " , his son just turned 18, damn liberals piss me off , it isn't supposed to end this way :'( if gods up there Will I hope he's hangin with ya I won't let the memories go till my dying day bro ;) I can hate the girl - to each his own !


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