PORT ST LUCIE, FL - At 9:17 p.m., 49-year-old Nelson Cepeda and his passenger, 50-year-old Stella Garcia, both of Miami, were traveling northbound on the Florida Turnpike on a 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the outside lane with a group of motorcycles, near mile marker 142, just north of the Port St. Lucie interchange.
53-year-old William R. Morley, Jr. was also traveling northbound on the Florida Turnpike in the same area in the inside lane, a short distance ahead of the group of motorcycles, driving a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado.
FHP investigators say the lead motorcycle in the group of riders traveled past Morley, Jr. in the outside lane, moving to the inside lane in front of the Silverado and then slowed.
The lead motorcylist began to wave the group of motorcycles past the Silverado into the inside lane.
For an unknown reason, when Cepeda merged into the inside lane in front of Morley, Jr. he lost control of his motorcycle and applied the rear brakes.
The Harley-Davidson slid its rear tire and began to overturn onto its right side, ejecting both driver and passenger onto the roadway. The pair landed in the inside travel lane in front of the Silverado.
The group of motorcycles split to avoid a collision and Morley, Jr. slowed rapidly but was unable to avoid striking both Cepeda and Garcia.
Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by St. Lucie County Fire Rescue crews.