On May 2, 2013, Florida State's starting tight end Nick O'Leary, the grandson of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, was involved in a horrific motorcycle crash on Mission Road, in Tallahassee.
According to the crash report obtained by TomahawkNation.com via a public records request, a Lexus pulled out in front of O'Leary and did not establish the right of way, violating O'Leary's own right of way.
O'Leary's motorcycle collided with the front of the Lexus and shattered before crashing into the windshield of a Star Metro Bus, which was stopped at an authorized bus stop. O'Leary was ejected and narrowly missed crashing into the bus. He slid approximately 75-100 feet parallel to the bus, and miraculously, can be seen standing up and walking away immediately after.
According to the accident report, O'Leary was transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the Lexus was cited with the causation of the crash. The crash report narrative page is available here.
In July, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher addressed the crash, stating that "he wrecked that daggone scooter and was banged up for about a month," but noting that O'Leary weighs 247 pounds, the heaviest he has been at Florida State, and that he "looks very good."
O'Leary at Florida State
O'Leary has 33 career catches for 416 yards and four touchdowns in his two years in Tallahassee. His official bio from the Florida State media guide is as follows:
One of the top tight ends in the country who is a candidate for the Mackey Award. Hard-nosed, old-school player who doesn't wear gloves and possesses strong hands with a knack for finding the ball whenever it comes in his direction. Displays great versatility which allows him to flex out wide as a receiver, line-up close on the line or be used in the backfield as a H-Back. His blocking was instrumental in FSU's resurgent running game, which produced 2,882 yards and a single-season school record 40 rushing touchdowns while his pass catching skills aided in a school record 6,591 total yards of offense.
How the story came to be
A few weeks after the crash, a tipster asked me if I knew something was up with Nick O'Leary. I did not, and after asking around, was reasonably confident that O'Leary, if he was injured, was not seriously injured. But I filed the public records request for the Florida traffic crash report, and the video from the bus (Star Metro Bus video is subject to public records requests). In late May, I received the materials. After Jimbo Fisher spoke about the incident during ACC Media Days, and stated that O'Leary was healthy, I elected to publish.
I've watched this probably 100 times now, and every time I do, I am amazed that O'Leary managed to not crash into the windshield of the bus along with his motorcycle. And even though I knew what to expect when I received the tape, my jaw dropped when I saw him get up and walk to the side of the road. Luckily, he was wearing a helmet (I think), though I do wonder how smart it is to operate a motorcycle in sandals. Also, though Fisher described it as a "scooter," it does appear that O'Leary is on a motorcycle. O'Leary is lucky to be alive, and luckier to not have sustained major injuries.
At least one Florida State player is done riding motorcycles as a result of the accident. In late May, Ukeme Eligwe tweeted the following:
@DanielGlauser1 smh stupid. Yo Im done with motorcycles bro.— Ukeme Eligwe (@MarkussEligwe) May 29, 2013
@DanielGlauser1 after Nick. And I've ran into too many people recently who's friend just crashed. I'm looking at it as a sign.— Ukeme Eligwe (@MarkussEligwe) May 29, 2013
But there's another story here -- one that doesn't show up in the video. It's that of the young passenger trying to retrieve his bike who is nearly struck by O'Leary's motorcycle after the initial impact. The report says that the driver was "disputing a bus fare with the bicycle owner." The video before the crash shows the young passenger putting his bike on the front of the bus, getting on the bus, swiping his card, only to be recalled by the driver. He swipes again, and apparently the card does not work. The passenger and driver exchange words, before the young passenger departs the bus and makes his way around the front to retrieve his bike. If he was out in front just a second or two earlier, he easily could have been struck by the motorcycle.
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