Stunt biker pleads guilty to role in fatal crash

November 18, 2004|By DAVID DISHNEAU

FREDERICK, Md. - A bare-bottomed motorcyclist pleaded guilty Wednesday to indecent exposure and negligent driving charges stemming from highway stunts that ended in a companion's death.

Brandon M. Edwards, 21, of Ijamsville, Md., was fined a total of $1,000 at the hearing in Frederick County District Court. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped charges of reckless driving and driving with a learner's permit without proper supervision.

Prosecutors said Edwards and another biker popped wheelies and stood on the seats of their motorcycles as they sped down U.S. 340 south of Frederick at more than 70 mph on Sept. 12 wearing helmets, shirts and shoes but no pants or underwear. The stunts ended when the other rider, Shaun P. Matlock, 21, crashed into a tow truck parked on the roadside.

Police say the men were being videotaped by stunt promoter Benjamin Meacham, 22, of Frederick, owner of Baltimore-based Holding It Big Entertainment. Meacham faces charges of reckless and negligent driving in the case.


Edwards didn't address the court. His lawyer, Marc Ward, said Edwards was "humiliated and embarrassed and devastated by the loss of his friend."

Ward said Edwards, who works for his father's home-construction firm, has sold his motorcycle and vowed never to ride. Edwards' friends said the bike was a 1994 Honda 600cc model.

Assistant State's Attorney Kirsten Brown said she didn't know whether Edwards would testify against Meacham if that case goes to trial. Meacham's trial in district court is scheduled for Dec. 20.

"I think Mr. Edwards took responsibility for his part in what happened. Certainly, he wasn't responsible for Mr. Matlock's death," Brown said. "Nobody else is responsible for Shaun Matlock's death except for Shaun Matlock."

A friend of both men, Brenton Heller, 20, of Frederick, said after the hearing that the stunts were Matlock's idea. "It was just a follow-the-leader type of thing," he said.

Heller, who drove a car accompanying the bikers, said he didn't know why they wore no pants but that the stunts were not unusual for them. He said his friends had performed similar stunts at a Holding It Big show at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in early September.

Heller said he used to work at such shows but stopped because of Matlock's death.

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