Ten years ago, our Keys Life Magazine office manager, Teresa Lybarger, was riding on the back of a Harley Davidson with her boyfriend Scott Parker. It was one of the countless rides they took together since falling for each other at a biker Super Bowl party early that year. Nothing was out of the ordinary that day, but everything would soon change.
Teresa had long been part of a biker community in the Keys—a close-knit group that shared not only a love for riding motorcycles but also a deep bond of friendship. They would often gather for events and enjoy each other’s company, forming a support system that extended beyond their shared passion for motorcycles. It was a community where everyone looked out for each other, celebrated together, and offered support in times of need.
One of the highlights of the year was the annual Super Bowl party hosted by one of Teresa’s friends. This party was legendary, attracting over 500 people from the biker community every year. It was a time for everyone to come together, indulge in good food and drinks, and enjoy the camaraderie that the biker community is known for.
It was at one of these Super Bowl parties that Teresa first met Scott. He caught her attention by playfully throwing rubber footballs at her. Scott was a park ranger for the Department of Environmental Protection, and his love for the outdoors and motorcycles resonated with Teresa. They hit it off instantly, and from that moment on, they became inseparable.
On October 20, 2013, Teresa and Scott went for a ride, like they often did, but it ended very differently.
As they were riding down US 1, a teenager pulled out in front of them, causing a devastating collision. Scott lost his life instantly, while Teresa was left in critical condition. The accident shattered her pelvis, broke her ankle, wrist, and jaw, and caused her to lose her spleen.
Teresa was induced into a coma for three days, spent two weeks in the ICU and another 3 weeks in the hospital before being released, wheelchair-bound for a few more months. Thankfully, Teresa has made a full recovery, mostly due to the support from the biker community that helped nurse her back to health at home and pay for her medical bills.
Since that fateful day, Teresa has made it her mission to commemorate Scott’s memory every year. She visits the accident site, where a memorial now stands with a plaque engraved with Scott’s name that says “Drive Safely.” Members of the biker community and the Keys community join her in remembering Scott’s life and the impact he had on them.
The annual gathering also serves as a reminder to practice motorcycle safety. Drivers need to watch for motorcyclists and leave at least 4 seconds of space between their vehicle and a motorcycle. Motorcyclists must always be on their guard, be patient in high-traffic areas, and ALWAYS wear protective gear.
If Teresa hadn’t been wearing a helmet, she would not have survived the accident. Her leather boots also spared her from even more serious injuries. That’s why Teresa encourages riders to always wear proper clothing and safety gear, no matter how hot it is, as it only takes one accident to end in tragedy.
This year, on the 10-year anniversary of the accident, Teresa invites all those who wish to honor Scott Parker’s memory to gather on October 20th at 7:30 p.m. at the accident site, just south of Keys Boating Center. The short half-hour memorial will allow everyone to pay their respects and share memories of their dear friend.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.