Bates, Dimartine killed in auto accidentUpdated, 4:30 p.m., 9/22
Banned BMX riders and members of the Casselberry, Fla. crew, Rickey Bates and Gary Dimartine were killed in an automobile accident on Tuesday night, according to Bates' sponsor The Shadow Conspiracy.
According to reports, Bates and Dimartine were traveling on Highway 93 north of Wickenburg, Ariz., when they tried to pass other cars on the road. They collided head-on with Arizona Department of Safety employee Matthew Uhl, 46, who was also killed in the accident.
There were no signs of impairment in either driver.
The pair were en route from Las Vegas, Nev. to Phoenix, Ariz., when the accident occurred. According to the Banned BMX blog, both Bates and Dimartine were traveling on a limited budget, and were in Las Vegas for Interbike 2011, to showcase new Banned BMX products in the Sparky's Distribution booth.
Bates, 23, a resident of Casselberry, Fla., was the creator of the "Banned" video series, which produced four DVDs, as well as hard goods. Banned products included BMX frames, sprockets, handlebars and the new 'Sludge' stem, which was Dimartine's signature topload stem. "It's meant for straight drops, and to hold your bars in place," Bates told Ride BMX in an on-camera interview last week in Vegas.
Bates was a member of the Sputnic BMX pro team, as well as the Shadow Conspiracy team. Sputnic had offered a signature Bates frame, dubbed the 'Regulator' for the past two years, and were working with Bates on special edition Banned frames.
Fellow Sputnic team rider Mike Cottle tweeted, "I'm stoked to have a Regulator. I love you Rickey," minutes after learning of the news.
Gary Dimartine, 24, was originally from Galloway, N.J., and had spent the past several years living between Philadelphia and Central Florida. After moving to the Florida area, Dimartine began filming for and appearing in the "Banned" video series. According to Sparky's employee and friend John Paul Rogers, Dimartine was an "awesomely awkwardly funny kid."
Uhl, a civilian helicopter pilot with the Kingman Air Rescue, is survived by his wife and three children.
Our condolences go out to the rider's friends and families, the entire Florida crew, the family and friends of Matthew Uhl, and all those affected by this unfortunate news.
We will update this story as more news becomes available.