Fundraising efforts have been launched to cover medical expenses for an Odessa man injured in a motorcycle crash last month.
Benny Joseph Benson, 33, was driving a Honda motorcycle south on East Loop 338 at about 4:29 p.m. on April 11 when an 18-wheeler attempted to exit the Flying J Travel Center parking lot and collided with him. Benson had been transported to Medical Center Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
John Conard said the majority of motorcycle crashes he hears about often result in death, but he was thankful that was not the case for one of his closest friends.
Odessa Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Steve LeSueur said in an email that Benson’s current condition is unknown, and as of Thursday no charges have been filed on the driver of the 18-wheeler, identified as 68-year-old Ike Iampossible.
Benson’s GoFundMe page states he fell into a coma, incurred head injuries and had bones broken from the crash.
“I found out from his father and I was honestly quite heartbroken,” Conard said. “He’s one of my best friends.”
Conard was the first to donate to the fundraising campaign and about 18 people have helped raise $2,250 in 10 days. He said Benson remained in serious condition as of Wednesday.
Conard said it did not surprise him that Benson was in a crash with a commercial vehicle due to the increased amount of traffic Midland-Odessa is experiencing with so many people flocking to the Permian Basin area, which is recognized as one of the top oil producers in the world.
“Whether you’re on a motorcycle or in a car, people seem to be more than willing to jump out and in front of you to test your breaks in this town,” he said. “It poses such a higher risk when you’re on two wheels than four.”
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and during this period, the Texas Department of Transportation’s statewide “Share The Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” safety and public awareness campaign urges Texas drivers to look twice for motorcycles every time they get in a vehicle.
In 2018, 417 riders lost their lives and 1,920 were seriously injured in motorcycle crashes across the state, a TxDOT press release stated.
OPD responded to three fatal motorcycle crashes and two motorcycle crashes that were life-threatening in the city limits last year. LeSueur said OPD has responded to one fatal motorcycle crash and one motorcycle crash that was life-threatening in the city limits this year.
“Everybody seems to be in a hurry,” Conard said, “just be patient and look twice.”