Funeral Escort Riders Say Farewell To One of Their Own

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Family and friends said their final goodbyes to a funeral escort rider killed in a tragic motorcycle accident.

John Walker died last week after he was hit by an off-duty Memphis police officer.

He was working as an escort for a funeral procession.

The officer did get a citation after the accident which has brought to light the dangers of that job.

Sirens wailing, funeral escort officers lead the way to the cemetery to bury one of their own.

When their overwhelming show of respect was cut off by a driver, frustration builds.

One escort yelled at a motorist, “One of our escort drivers got killed two weeks ago because of stuff like that. You see a funeral you pull over!"

Walker was killed leading a procession when off duty officer Larry Jackson, driving a Volvo, pulled out in front of Walker’s motorcycle.

Jimmy Jones, said, “When they see a funeral procession just respect the funeral. That's all."

Usually, one or two escorts work a funeral, but because Walker was one of them, dozens showed up for his final ride.

They say this is a dangerous job, one reason some of them have given it up.

Aubrey Payne said, “I broke my ankle one occasion. Knocked my back out-of-place in a few occasions. It's just been whatever you land that's what happens. It's just good to be standing up here talking.”

Reginald Thompson has a message for motorists, "“People in the city got to be aware when they see these lights, stop!”

Thompson also has a message for his fellow escort riders, “Two things for sure. Where we are going, we're taking somebody already dead and we as the escort riders have got to slow done ourselves."

Many of Walker’s friends in the funeral escort business know the off duty officer, Larry Jackson, who hit him, because for years Jackson worked in the Memphis police department's motorcycle division.