Fire Inspector killed in motorcycle crash

Harden at a Fire Department event (WALB Archives)
Harden at a Fire Department event (WALB Archives)

LEE CO., GA (WALB) - No charges have been filed in the fatal crash of a Lee County motorcyclist this morning, as the Georgia State Patrol investigation continues. 56-year old Dan Harden was an inspector with the Albany Fire Department.

Grief counselors were available to co-workers dealing with the shock of his death.

Firefighters, of course, work every day to save lives, and face dangerous situations on the job doing it.  But it still hit Albany Firefighters hard today when they learned one of their own was killed driving to work.

The Albany Fire Department flag flew at half staff today outside their headquarters.  56 year old Dan Harden had been an inspector with the Department for six years. He came to Albany after retiring in Maryland as a firefighter.

"We lost a member of our family." AFD Chief James Carswell said.

Harden was riding his beloved Harley Davidson to work on Pinewood Road in Lee County about 7:20, when troopers say an SUV, driven by 39 year old Karis Stubbs of Albany, a guard at Lee State Prison, turned in front of him.

"He was attempting to make a turn into the main entrance of Lee State Prison. The motorcycle was traveling east on Pinewood Road, and the Chevrolet Tahoe turned into the path of the motorcycle," Trooper Jack Stripling said.

Harden's motorcycle hit the rear of the Tahoe and he was ejected into the road, and into the path of another prison employee's car, 47-year-old Kimberly Sebastian.  GSP investigators are trying to determine if her Toyota SUV hit Harden as well. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Harden was well known in the community for planning events and fundraisers for the Georgia Burn Foundation. Just two weeks ago he represented the Fire Department's donation of prom dresses to the Burn Foundation camp members.

"Fire service was his second love, I guess you would call it, that way.  Burn the boot, or the Burn Foundation was something that was a passion for him.  He put a lot of time and effort into collecting money to help the burn victims of Georgia," Carswell said.

The Georgia State Patrol has not filed any charges in the crash, as their investigation continues. "The SRCT team with the Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash at this time.  After their investigation we'll see about filing some charges," Stripling said.

South Georgia motorcycle riders again urge drivers to watch for them, and prevent more deaths.

The Remaining Few Motorcycle Club members spread the word early this morning that another rider had been killed in a crash with an SUV, and apparently again the driver did not see the motorcycle before turning into its path.  Again club members urge drivers to slow down and look for motorcycles, and maybe save a life.

"Motorcyclists have shared the roads with automobiles  for over 100 years now.  You know we're out there. Stop and look. Same thing as watching for children," said Mike McKinley of the Remaining Few Motorcycle Club.

McKinley said that Dan Harden had worked with the Remaining Few Motorcycle Club in several charity fundraisers, and was another good friend killed riding his motorcycle.

Troopers say that investigation could take more than a month, as they wait on toxicology test results. Dan Harden is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son who is a student at Lee County High School.

Funeral arrangements for Dan Harden have not been finalized.

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