There have been many – too many – tragic, fatal motorcycle crashes across the High Desert and Oregon this year. But the news of one brought an even deeper sadness among those who did not even know a Redmond man, only that he had died in a horrible crash, when he struck and killed his own dog, a week ago.
But the basic information released by police on the crash and deaths last Friday night of Ted Rainville and his dog – a brief recounting in large part due to a lack of witnesses – may have led some to presume that he'd died alone that fateful night, laying broken on a dark neighborhood street.
But Rainville’s grieving family, and one of his neighbors and friends, Bob Robinson, want everyone to know that was not the case.
Because Rainville, alas, died in Robinson’s arms, as his dog, Scout, also lay dead, not far away.
Robinson said he, too, did not see the awful crash -- he could only watch as his friend's riderless motorcycle slid by in a shower of sparks past his house around 10:15 that night.
“I had spent the evening with Ted,” Robinson told us by e-mail, “just hanging out in the usual spot, the garage.”
“We talked about many things, one of which was going motorcycle riding the next day,” Robinson said.
The light rain that had fallen that Friday had them jazzed for some excellent Saturday riding weather after a long, dry summer, so Ted “rolled the bikes out to get them primed,” Robinson said.
“He’d made a few runs down the street, only a block or so from the house,” Rainville’s friend said. “But on that last run, his four-legged buddy Scout had unknowingly followed him.”
“Obviously and so very unfortunately, as Ted was headed back to the house, Scout was in Ted’s path. Ted wouldn’t have seen him – the neighborhood was dark.”
So as Robinson came out of the garage, expecting to see him ride up the driveway, “I only saw sparks as the bike slid on its side to a stop in the street, riderless.”
“Once I got to Ted and cradled his head in my hands, yelling for help, I knew he was gone,” Robinson recounted.
Redmond police Sgt. Keith Knight said Thursday that a plea for any witnesses to come forward had been fruitless.
Knight said police only were seeking witnesses to try to fill in the blanks on some unanswered questions about the crash. “We’re not investigating it as a criminal matter,” the sergeant said.
That might bring a bit of comfort to his pained family and friends. After all, police already told the public that Rainville was not wearing a helmet as he rode down Poplar Avenue on his off-road Yamaha motorcycle that night.
“This was a tragic accident,” Robinson said. “There’s nothing further to be investigated, nothing out of the ordinary to have been seen or heard by anyone. Only a horrible, unintentional, undesirable accident.”
Those who knew Rainville best just want everyone to know a bit more about how he lived, not just how he passed, just nine days after he turned 44 years old.
Sharing some of his thoughts in writing on the eve of Rainville’s celebration of life, held Thursday afternoon at the Terrebonne Grange, Robinson called him “a loving husband, father and friend.”
“His sometimes mischievous ways kept us all on our toes and laughing,” Robinson said. “He was an irreplaceable friend, and will be missed by all who know and love him.”
“We miss Ted,” he said. “Fishing, snowmobiling, bike-riding, truckin’ won’t be the same without him. Never-ending prayers to his wife and kids. You’ll get through this. Ted wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Another family friend said that an account has been set up in Theodore Rainville's name at any Wells Fargo Bank branch, for donations to help his children.