One thing that Charles “Charlie” Seiler truly enjoyed was hopping onto his Harley-Davidson for a long motorcycle ride.
But the ride he took Sunday morning – on a friend’s motorcycle – proved to be his last.
Seiler, 44, of Amherst, was killed at about 10:30 a.m. when he lost control of the Harley he was driving on the curved ramp connecting the Niagara Thruway with the Youngmann Highway in the Town of Tonawanda, town police said.
Authorities said the motorcycle struck a van on the ramp before crashing and leaving Seiler with multiple injuries. He died at the scene. The driver of the van and a passenger in the van were not hurt.
While police were releasing little information, a friend who has known Seiler since childhood said Seiler was doing a favor for another friend when he was killed.
“Charlie was not driving his own bike. … It was his friend’s bike, and he was going to drop it off somewhere for his friend,” said Travis Hengerer, 44, of Amherst.
“Charlie was a good guy, a good dude. A lot of people are going to be very heartbroken over this.”
Hengerer said Seiler has been his close friend since they were both 10 years old. He said Seiler was a graduate of Williamsville South High School.
Seiler was a former construction worker who was disabled by a back injury, according to Hengerer, who said Seiler was a popular member of the Kingsmen, a Buffalo-based biker club.
It was especially sad, in Hengerer’s view, that Seiler’s last ride was on someone else’s motorcycle.
He said that it was also sad that Seiler’s wife, Donna, was following Seiler in a van and that she came upon the accident scene as Seiler “was drawing his last breath.”
Hengerer added that he was upset and disturbed because he understood that Seiler’s body was not picked up by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office until after 4 p.m. – more than five hours after the fatal crash.
“Absolutely, it bothered me,” Hengerer said. “His body was just lying there in the street with a tarp over it.”
The body was still lying on the pavement at the shut-down entrance ramp when a reporter drove past the scene at 2:40 p.m. The ramp was shut down for several hours after the accident. Sunday evening, the town Police Department and the county Medical Examiner’s Office declined to comment on the situation.
Seiler had two teenage daughters, Hengerer said, adding that Kingsmen members were meeting late Sunday to discuss funeral arrangements.