Friends and family mourn the loss of couple killed in West Ashley motorcycle crash


WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCBD) – Friends and family mourn the loss of a couple who were killed in a crash while riding motorcycles in West Ashley. Police said the incident happened on Magwood Drive just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday, a day after Christmas.

According to the Charleston County Coroner, the victims were identified as Chad Belue, 50, of Johns Island, and Lea Cook, 49, of Walterboro.

A longtime friend of the couple, Mike Thurston, said they had been in a relationship for years. He said they were passionate about riding motorcycles together and died doing something they loved.

“Chad was another biker and guitarist,” Thurston said. “Both were the life of the party. They were really good people.

Thurston said he plans to ride his motorcycle on Monday night in honor of his two friends, who he says will be sorely missed.

According to the Charleston Police Department, a Nissan Sentra traveling south on Magwood crossed the center line, hitting the couple head-on.

Police said the vehicle also struck another motorcycle, injuring the driver. Police say the woman driving the Nissan was seriously injured. So far, no charges have been laid.

Felix Nicolini is the coordinator of Lowcountry ABATE, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of motorcyclists. He is also an advocate for motorcycle safety. He said drivers should check their blind spots for motorcycles, as they are smaller and can sometimes go unnoticed. He also said to use caution when entering a busy road and make sure you know who is coming from the left or the right.

He said distracted driving and keeping to the right of way pose great threats to motorcyclists.

Nicolini said the biker community is tight-knit and they are taking losses like this.

“It’s always sad to see someone die, especially if it’s from an accident that could have been avoided,” said Nicolini.

Police are asking anyone with information about the accident to contact their traffic division at 843-965-4084.

About Frances R. Smith

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