Biker's death hits friends, family hard - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Biker's death hits friends, family hard

David Sledge David Sledge

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany woman is charged with Vehicular Homicide and Driving Under the Influence after pulling into the path of a motorcyclist along Ledo Road.

That crash killed 47-year old David Sledge of Albany, who was thrown 95 feet from his motorcycle onto the pavement.

Forty-year old Melanie Marie Woodley was arrested at the scene last night. Two 10-year-olds in her vehicle were also treated for injuries.

Sledge was a salesman at Ford Town of Albany and an active member of First Free Will Baptist Church.

It hadn't been easy for David Sledge, the victim in this fatal crash. Tough times forced him to close his paint store last year. He recently found a new job and  friends and co-workers say they're saddened that a man who knew how to live life had his life cut short.

Friends and co-workers describe David Sledge as a gentle giant, a generous man, whose love of motorcycles was brought to a tragic end. Sledge was well known for enjoying a motorcycle ride with a group of church members.

"We kidded him about being the President of our club, we called it the Free Wheelers, and David always led the pack, he and his wife Jenny, and we would have a great time riding up somewhere and having lunch," said First Free Will Baptist Church Pastor Bill Hanna. 

Saturday's planned ride has been canceled. He began working in February as a salesman at Ford Town of Albany, but quickly rose to the top, becoming sales person of the month in May.

"He just was so good with people, he was a good listener and helped people get the best car that suited their needs," said Ford Town of Albany Sales Manager Thomas Kirbo.

Employees say the lot won't be the same without him. "He was a huge asset, the customers loved him, there are just so many good things I could honestly say about him."

More than 40 people gathered last night in the emergency room when they learned of Sledge's critical condition. While Melanie Woodley remains in the Lee County Jail charged with vehicular homicide, friends say they'll never be able to fill the hole she's left in their lives, by taking the life of a man who truly knew how to live.

"We were talking about what a big gap he will leave and he will leave a big hole," said the pastor.

Sledge leaves behind his wife Jenny, a son, and his expectant daughter. That would have been David Sledge's second grandchild. His pastor said he was excited at the prospect of being a grandfather again.

Melanie Woodley remains in the Lee County Jail, and no date has been set for her first court appearance. Funeral arrangements for David Sledge have not been finalized.

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