Local biker club member killed on I-95

Police laid a white sheet over the body of Sheldon ‘Shaq’ Sampson, a Tru 31 Motorcycle Club member, killed on the Bruckner Expressway early Saturday morning.
Photo by Edwin Soto

A member of a Bronx motorcycle club was killed last weekend on the Bruckner Expressway, soon after attending a memorial for a fellow biker.

Sheldon ‘Shaq’ Sampson, a 35-year-old Mount Vernon resident and founding member of the north Bronx-based Tru 31 Motorcycle Club, was riding north on the Bruckner Expressway at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, when his BMW motorcycle rear-ended a 1999 Nissan Altima near the Country Club Road exit around 2:10 a.m.

The 49-year-old driver of the sedan told police he panicked when the bikers encircled his vehicle, and then abruptly changed lanes.

Sampson’s bike hit the back of the sedan, throwing him into a guardrail and killing him instantly.

The driver has not been charged, according to police.

Sampson was declared dead on arrival by first responders.

Members of the club gathered at the scene where their friend lay under a sheet.

Approximately 20 members of the Tru 31 Motorcycle Club who were also returning from the memorial, gathered at the scene of the accident to pay their respects to their fallen friend.

Club leader Haymes Harris said he and fellow members were still grappling with the sudden tragedy.

“It’s like losing your own blood – like losing one of your family members,” he said. “For those who were there, it’s a constant struggle because it’s still replaying in their minds.”

Sampson had been with the club since its inception in 2013 and served as a public liaison to the community, Harris said.

The non-profit club wants to change the perception of motorcycle clubs, and is involved in charity fundraisers for organizations such as the March of Dimes, he added.

“We formed the club to make a change and have an impact in the community and each other, to keep each other out of harm’s reach and make sure we stay together,” he said.

Elizabeth Gill, the 47th Precinct Community Council president, said she was awoken early Saturday morning by an police officer calling to inform her of the accident.

“It was devastating,” she said. “By the time I got dressed and got to the scene they were already removing the body. He was a nice young man. His family is devastated.”

Tru 31 had become active at precinct meetings in recent months in an effort to build better relations between bikers and the general public, Gill said.

“They came to me and wanted to know what they could do to improve police and community relations, which is what the police council is all about,” Gill said. “They started coming to the meetings and I got to know them, and they volunteered to do many things in the community. I have a different view of bikers since I met these guys.”

Family and friend visitation for Sampson will be held on Wednesday, May 10 from 4 to 9 p.m. at McCall’s Funeral Home, 4035 Bronxwood Avenue.

Memorial services will be held Thursday, May 11 at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon at 11 a.m., with burial at Mount Hope Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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