By Jessica Isaacs
The community now mourns the loss of a local firefighter whose life was claimed in a Monday morning wreck in Boone.
Authorities say that Travis Jake Gryder, 21, of Boone, was traveling south on Poplar Grove Road on his motorcycle when he crossed the centerline and crashed into an oncoming Chevy Tahoe.
The wreck occurred just north of Pine Hill Road on Poplar Grove. Although officials say he was wearing a helmet, Gryder sustained several injuries.
Responding agencies included N.C. Highway Patrol with Trooper M.A. Grogan investigating, along with Boone Fire Department, Watauga Medics and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. WINGS Air Rescue was called in and set up a landing zone at the nearby Honey Bear Campground.
NCHP 1st Sgt. Scott Byers said that WINGS rescue technicians couldn’t stabilize him for airlift, however, and Gryder was transported to Watauga Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.
While the investigation is still ongoing, officials believe that Gryder traveling left of center was the only factor contributing to the crash.
Byers said it’s important for motorcyclists to remember these important safety tips: always wear a helmet, always burn your headlights, always travel within the speed limit and understand your skill level.
Gryder was a firefighter and EMT with Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue. He is the son of Kelvin Gryder and district court judge Rebecca Eggers-Gryder.
As his loved ones find a way to accept this tragic news, his friends, neighbors and colleagues are turning to Facebook to express their fondest memories of Gryder and offer their heartfelt condolences to his family.