Motorcycle ride to aid DPW worker who lost leg in crash

A motorcycle run called a Ride for Donny Yeaton on Sunday, Sept. 15, is meant to help him and his family with medical bills and renovations to his home after he was involved in a crash on his motorcycle on July 15. Yeaton's left leg had to be amputated after the crash. Yeaton, a Danvers DPW mechanic, faces a lengthy recovery. Here, he is shown in a picture from three years ago with his grandson, Michael, who was 1 at the time; and his dog, Turbo.

DANVERS — On July 15, Donny Yeaton, a mechanic and longtime town Department of Public Works employee, was headed home after work on his Harley-Davidson when a car ran a red light at Endicott Street and hit him broadside, said Danvers police officer Kevin Wood, one of Yeaton’s friends.

Yeaton’s left leg had to be amputated after the crash, and he’s facing a long road to recovery.

Not only does the Yeaton family face steep medical expenses, their home has to be renovated to make it handicapped-accessible.

So, Wood decided to do something to help the family by organizing a motorcycle ride for Yeaton, which will run rain or shine on the two-month anniversary of the accident on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Danvers High, 60 Cabot Road.

Registration runs from 9 to 11 a.m. and kickstands go up at 11:15 a.m.

The ride, which will be escorted by police along the coast into Cape Ann and back, will finish at The Breakaway, 225 Newbury St., Danvers for an after-ride party.

Wood described Yeaton as a laid back, good guy — the kind of person you could call early in the morning to fix a flat tire for you.

As Wood started to organize the ride, other town departments such as the DPW and the Fire Department also jumped on board, and organizing the ride has been easy.

The town’s building supervisor, Leif Rochna, said Yeaton is well-known to many town employees; he also plans to ride for Yeaton on Sunday.

“It’s amazing how people are coming together for him because he’s such a good guy,” Rochna said. 

Yeaton has come home from the hospital and rehab and he is able to get out and about in a wheelchair, Wood said.

In fact, Yeaton’s wife, Donna, said her nephew has rented a Slingshot motorcycle so her husband can still take part in Sunday’s ride.

“So, Donny is going to ride with all the guys,” she said.

The accident happened the day after their 35th wedding anniversary, she added.

She said her husband has been home for a couple of weeks after being in the hospital for over a month. He’s lucky to be alive because he lost a lot of blood after the crash, Donna said, adding that she can’t thank enough all who helped him, including an employee of Monro Auto Service on Endicott Street who took off his belt and wrapped it around Yeaton’s leg as a tourniquet.

“They lost him three times going to the hospital,” she said. Medical crews had to give him five bags of blood while he was being taken to the hospital. Yeaton was flown by medical helicopter to Boston Medical Center, and Donna said her husband is being treated by the same doctors who treated the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. 

“He just wants to ride his bike,” she said.

Asked how she’s doing, Donna replied: “I’m just hanging in. It’s not easy, but we’ll get through it. I mean, everybody, the whole town has been wonderful. I can’t say it enough, they are wonderful people.”

If you ride ...

What: Ride for Donny Yeaton

When: Sunday, Sept. 15, rain or shine. Registration runs from 9 to 11 a.m. Kickstands up at 11:15 a.m.

Start: Danvers High School, 60 Cabot Road

Finish and party after the ride: The Breakaway, 225 Newbury St., with raffles and cash bar

Donation: $30 per bike. Cash or check made payable to the Donald Yeaton Fund

Registration: No advance registration required.

For more information: Visit www.facebook.com/DonaldYeatonFund or contact Kevin Wood at 978-882-1084.

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