Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Friends mourn Lysander motorcycle crash victim

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Friends mourn Lysander motorcycle crash victim
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The investigation continues into a motorcycle and tractor trailer collision in Lysander that left a 19-year-old dead early Sunday. Just hours later, family and friends gathered on 690 North to say goodbye. Our Candace Hopkins has more.

LYSANDER, N.Y. -- "He just put his heart and soul into everything he did, you know"

It was a somber scene Sunday evening, as loved ones gathered to remember the short life of Joseph Rogala, 19. "Joey was always over the top, he was outgoing, it was just his passion, above and beyond," said friend Kurt McArdell.

Rogala died after striking the side of a tractor trailer on 690 North just before 3:00 am on Sunday. Police said the truck was driving the wrong way down 690, and was attempting to make a U-turn when the accident happened.

Brendan Grunder grew up with Rogala. "We all went to school together, grew up together, anything we would ever do we would be together, and I've been riding with him every day until now."

The tractor trailer driver was not injured, but was issued tickets. As for Rogala, friends said it was no secret he liked to live life on the edge.

"When it comes to some things he would be afraid to do it, I know he's afraid of heights, he couldn't simply climb a tree or that sign right there, but if he wants to get on his bike and do 150 miles an hour, he'll do it without a problem," said friend Tyler Cook.

Police have not said how fast Rogala was going, but his friends hope his death can serve as a wake up call. "For me, I'm slowing down, for my friends, if they don't slow down, they're not riding with me," said Cook.

It's a lesson that no one wants to learn the hard way, and a void this group can never fill.

The driver of the tractor trailer was issued three tickets. He is scheduled to appear in Lysander town court to answer those citations on August 7th.

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