Motorcyclist Dies In Escambia Crash

September 12, 2012

An Escambia County motorcyclist is dead following a crash Tuesday afternoon.

Matthew Walter Vaughn, age 27 of Pensacola, died from injuries he received when he was struck on Mobile Highway near Wabash Avenue about 3:30 p.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 54-year old Mary Ellem Smith of Pensacola was traveling south in the southbound turn lane on Mobile Highway near Walmart when she turned her 1992 Chevrolet S10 pickup into the path of Vaughn’s northbound motorcycle.

Vaughn tried to avoid the collision but slid into the side of the pickup and was ejected.

Charges are pending a traffic homicide investigation, according to the FHP.

Smith and her five-year old passenger were not injured.


41 Responses to “Motorcyclist Dies In Escambia Crash”

  1. Alisa on September 17th, 2012 11:25 pm

    Hi Jessi… Hope I spelled that correctly. I met you and Matt’s mom at the NEX. I am the lady from Cosmetics that found MaryAnn to assist you. Wanted to hug you both, but I didn’t know if that would make you uncomfortable. You both touched me so much that I had to excuse myself from the sales floor. Wanted you to know you guys are still on my mind..Tears falling now. ;-( It is a disgrace that any random individual would comment to check if he was wearing safety gear and driving responsibily! You have shown grace and maturity during a difficult time that most of us would consider our worst nightmare. My heart goes out to you and your family as well as the others involved in this accident. I will never forget you. XOXOX

  2. Helene Stone Prince, Nicky Stone & Bob Stanish on September 17th, 2012 12:54 pm

    Dear Jessica and Family,
    Your cousins from Pittsburgh are deeply saddened. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Helene, Nicky and Bob

  3. AS on September 16th, 2012 8:29 pm

    My heart goes out to this family. I did not have the pleasure of meeting this Marine, husband, father, son, brother, but do know someone very close to him. I see the whole that has been left behind. I send lots of love and strength to those who need it. May your hearts be filled with all the precious moments and memories of someone who has truly touched those in his life. RIP

  4. Sgt Zaid on September 15th, 2012 11:52 pm

    SSgt Vaughn you will be greatly missed in the Training office. I still remember when you came into my office for funeral detail verbage and we were joking about how dumb the person was you were getting it for. You were always happy and smiling whenever I or anyone seen you. It will be different on days im used to seeing you. Continue to watch over your family and know you are in all of our prayers. I love you brother may you Rest In Peace and Semper Fi

  5. John on September 14th, 2012 10:12 pm

    I pray that your family and friends feel the comfort that only God can provide at a time like this. RIP Matt, Semper Fi

  6. Herm on September 14th, 2012 10:11 pm

    Matt was a loving husband, father, exemplary Marine and a dear friend. I had the honor and privilege to have worked along side him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, children and loved ones. He will forever be missed and remembered. RIP Matt, Semper Fi.

  7. Jessica Vaughn on September 14th, 2012 7:01 pm

    Those of you making up your own pathetic speculations of what happened should be extremely ashamed and disgusted in yourselves. Forget all about who needs to watch out for who. The bottom line is there are far too many people who are negligent or are in a hurry or using their cell phones, etc. It doesn’t matter. We ALL need to slow down and pay attention. Life is far too precious. My husband never left the house without full gear and he was always very cautious. You know why? Because he loved me and our children so passionately and was truly the best of the best. He’s the perfect prince I’d always dreamed of having a life with. He’s someone who anyone would be proud to call their husband, father, son, brother. He was the epitome of everything good in this would. He was so much larger than life that this evil place could not even contain him. He always strived to make others, including myself, to push on and better ourselves. Every time I reminded him of how spectacular he was and how proud of him I was and how amazingly gorgeous he was, he’d always say, “I can do better” and “A happy wife is a happy life.” I’m so honored to have been the love of his life, even since we were kids. Our life together was a fantastic book with a very tragic ending. I feel no hatred toward the other driver. Just as my children and I will have to live forever with a black hole in our hearts, the lady involved, too, will have to live with such a heavy burden for the rest of her life. I am so thankful that he left nothing but wonderful memories for us to cherish. He was just so genuinely amazing that we could all learn from him. GySgt Byrd, thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for being with my husband in his darkest hour. I am forever grateful for your support and selflessness.

    Just for the record, his helmet did not shatter; hardly a scratch on any piece of his riding gear.

  8. NJ on September 14th, 2012 12:07 pm

    @ Sandi Byrd – your son is a true hero to his fellow Marine. I knelt next to Matthew holding his hand and praying for him as your son, GySgt Byrd, held Matthew’s head, talking encouragement to him and constantly reminding him that he is a Marine. He told Matthew several times, “Stay with me, Marine!!” It was an honor to hold the hand of a Marine and be next to your son, also a Marine, who gave such comfort to Matthew the last minutes of his life. I pray for Matthew’s wife and two children daily, numerous times a day, for comfort and peace. Matthew was not alone. He was surrounded by love, not only from me and your son, but all the bystanders who were obviously praying for him. I did not know Matthew, but from what I have read, Matthew was amazing and will certainly be missed. Please tell your son Thank You – again – from me, for being there for this Marine. Much love to all the families involved. ~RIP Marine, Semper Fidelis~

  9. VN on September 13th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Prayers go out to Matt and his family. You will be missed brother! RIP my fellow Marine and tech.

  10. sandi byrd on September 13th, 2012 10:54 am

    It breaks my heart to hear of this young man’s passing. If it’s any comfort, it was my son GySgt Byrd who held his head and talked to him until paramedics arrived. As devastated as my son was, I told him that I thought it meant a lot to have a fellow Marine with him, comforting, talking to him at such a tragic time. I have to admit that I myself have almost been responsible for causing not one but two wrecks with motorcyclist. They were doing nothing wrong, I did not see either one of them. I don’t have the answers to why I didn’t, I just did NOT see them. I thank God that in both situations I caused no harm. It has made me much more careful and I pray that I never cause anyone harm by my own neglect. We have to remember in all situations like this, “There but for the grace of God go I”. Remember this wonderful young Marine, give comfort and love to his family. I wish I could put my arms around them and give them some since of how I feel when I cry and I never met him. From one Marine Corps family to another, Semper Fi and know that you are in our prayers.

  11. Tb on September 13th, 2012 6:28 am

    It was an accident! Cars hit cars everyday, most of the time we call them fender benders but when a car hits a motorcycle, there is more likely a chance of serious injury or death. Prayers for comfort and strength for both families . Remember there is also a five year old in the truck who was a witness to all of this. God bless them all.

  12. KJ on September 13th, 2012 2:06 am

    Let me see if I can simplify this for you. Our brains are not geared to see something as small as a motorcycle on a highway. There are many more cars, ergo, we are used to seeing cars, lots of cars, and our brain recognizes cars without trying – we don’t have to put forth an effort to see a car. But we do have to put forth an effort to see a motorcycle. Our eyes see them, but they do not register in the brain. There are approximately 250 million cars registered on the road today and only a little over 4 million motorcycles registered. Now, on my way to the store tomorrow, which do you think I will see more of……cars or motorcycles? Which do you think I will expect to see more of? Some manufacturers even have, and may still do, put 2 headlights on the front of motorcycles in an effort to make them more visible to drivers of cars.

    I’m sorry I upset you so bad with my first statements. I hope it’s clearer to you now what I meant. I sincerely hope you’re not still thinking I said derogatory things about motorcyclists. If you, or anyone else on here, doesn’t believe me, google it and click on some results and read about it. I did.

  13. Ron on September 12th, 2012 9:57 pm

    I have not only worked with him but also held many great conversations with him, never failed he always had a smile! With out failure everytime I saw him he would always say “Whats up dude”!

    Great man, Great Marine! Very disappointed to have heard the news! I heard about the accident and hoped he was walking away from it! Still surprised to find out he passed!!

    Semper Fi Marine!

  14. Anthony Bergeron on September 12th, 2012 7:55 pm

    I didn’t know you that well Matt, but you’re still my brother. You will be greatly missed. RIP fellow NDI Tech.

  15. adam moore on September 12th, 2012 7:41 pm

    I knew matt and his wife from high school. This is such a tragic accident. Matt was a great guy. No matter what kind of mood you were in he could always make you laugh. He was loyal, trustworthy, someone who any one could look up to. we was the clear defition of a true friend, husband, and father. The world has lost a great man and solider. he faught for what we all hold dear. Matt, I will miss you.

  16. A on September 12th, 2012 3:53 pm

    Such a tragedy. I don’t think this is the time or place to argue about whether or not we are vigilant of motorcycles on the road or to argue about anything else. This serves as a very sad reminder that tragedies can happen close to home and without warning.

    A young man who was a father, a husband, a brother, and many other things to many other people lost his life. His family is in my thoughts and my prayers. I hope that they will find the strength to live on, keeping their memories of him close to their hearts.

  17. MSgt Hunt on September 12th, 2012 3:41 pm

    Warrior!!! I was very SADDENED to hear that we lost another brother, you will be missed!!! I appreciate the time we had at the school house and will forever remember your paper shirt:) Until we meet again my brother, guard the gates of heaven as all Marines do, and my god bless your Wife, children, and loved ones!!!

    Semper Fi
    MSgt Hunt

  18. Patriot on September 12th, 2012 3:40 pm


    For the record, I quoted what you said.

    “We are just not geared to see a motorcycle”.

    I didn’t ‘read it wrong’…you said it. Maybe you meant something different, but those are your words, not mine.
    When I read “we”, I assume I’m included, and I AM “geared” to see a motorcycle…because I’m looking for one. Maybe all the others in “we” should start looking for them too.

  19. @ amber, @ Patriot, @ SW, & @ Matt on September 12th, 2012 1:59 pm

    @ amber, @ Patriot, @ SW, & @ Matt

    I am old – my children are now old and know what I say is true. I did not say motorcycles shouldn’t be on the road – I did not say one should be absolved of hitting a motorcyle for any reason. Some people just want to read something into anything to get riled up about and therefore jump to incorrect conclusions.

    I said our minds are EXPECTING to see another car and for some strange reason a motorcycle doesn’t register in our brains. I did not say we shouldn’t be more aware and I didn’t not say it makes it all okay.

    Several years ago they had to cut one of my sons’ head from the camper of a truck and he was upside down on it because someone didn’t see him on a motorcycle and pulled out in front of him. And you know what the guy who pulled out in front of him kept saying to everyone at the scene? “I can’t believe that guy hit me.” My son’s hand was hanging on by some skin and he was mad ’cause my son hit him! Thank goodness my son was only going 35 mph or he surely would be dead.

    You read what I said wrong. Stop and think, get it right and don’t assume. My son’s wreck has made me be very aware of what’s coming before I pull out into traffic or make a left hand turn. But most people only see another car – and not always even do that.

  20. D on September 12th, 2012 12:28 pm

    I knew Matt and his family very well. We all went to school together. He was a great man, father, and husband. We are all so sick over what happened to him. My heart goes out to his family, his wife, and his two children. He will never be forgotten and will be greatly missed! He was a motorist on the road, just like anyone else, and because of the lack of checking her blind spot or what not, a horrific accident happened. Something that can never be taken back or forgotten. Don’t blame the fact that he was on a motorcycle. Motorcyclists, like myself, have every right to be on the road. Its the people who are behind the wheel of their vehicles that need to slow down and pay attention!

  21. jb on September 12th, 2012 12:23 pm

    This story is very touching on the anniversary of 9/11 a marine who has served for our country was killed in such a tragic unexpected way. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. Someone I know witnessed the accident and had said he did have a helmet on be with him being ejected and upon his landing him helmet shattered. God bless him and the family especially those wonderful kids. Semper fi

  22. Sasha on September 12th, 2012 12:21 pm

    RIP Matt you will be missed you will always be muchacha suicia to me.

  23. Roll Tide on September 12th, 2012 10:16 am

    RIP Mr. Vaughn. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young man. I did not know him but from what I am reading here, I wish I had. God Bless!

  24. Kerri on September 12th, 2012 9:56 am

    God bless him and his family. I drove by the accident and was hoping to find out the motorcyclist was ok. :(
    I said a prayer for him then and now I will say a prayer for his family’s loss. It’s just tragic.

  25. chris on September 12th, 2012 9:33 am

    My brother Matt,
    Traveling home from work to be with his wife and two children. The most genuine, pure of heart man i have ever called a friend and brother is now gone because of this tragic event.
    This man served multiple combat deployments with me and has touched the lives of so many people, You will never be forgotten Matthew..

    Semper Fi.

  26. Sandy Eicher on September 12th, 2012 9:26 am

    I am so sadenned by this news.. I drove past this accident yesterday and said a prayer as i did not see the driver of the motorcycle much less new it was my neighbor and a friend to my son. I never knew him real well but always thought so highly of how he was with his family.. Never did a day go by that he wasn’t with one of his children and family. You could tell he was a family man and a good person… My heart is very heavy today after reading this news. Please keep his wife and family in your prayers… I pray God be with her and those adorable kids!

  27. StopAlready on September 12th, 2012 9:23 am

    How about you stop with your assumptions and comments about motorcycle safety. The man was wearing his helmet, it was a tragic accident and his family WILL read this. Do you think they care about your opinion on who should be watching out for who ? Just leave it alone and say a prayer for his family and friends who are going through a terrible time right now.

  28. Allyson on September 12th, 2012 9:03 am

    I am always watching for motorcyles. But what makes me mad is when they don’t watch out for everybody else. The other day I had some idiot try to swerve over right in front of me on hwy 29 because I guess it was just too hard to hit his brakes and slow down. So it goes BOTH ways. They need to start watching out for us, too!

  29. Cain on September 12th, 2012 8:47 am

    RIP Staff Sergeant

  30. Biker on September 12th, 2012 8:39 am

    @ Fred ( active duty Marine ) Active Duty Military Have To Wear Helment’s Per military regulations, We are not GEARED to see motorcycles???? That’s rediculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Pay attention And stop texting Put your Phone Down or Please stay off the roads!!
    Prayers for all concerned.
    Bikers Are Law enforcement, Fire Fighters EMT’S, doctors, lawyers, Judges, construction workers, office workers, All Walks Of Life
    I Work Just Like You
    I Have A Family Just Like You
    I Have Friends Just Like You ( My Brothers And Sisters )
    I Go To Church Just Like You
    I Work To Raise Money For Special Needs Kids ( Autism )
    I AM JUST A BIKER…………………………………………………………………

    CHECK TWICE AND SAVE A LIFE ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  31. LE on September 12th, 2012 7:40 am

    He WAS wearing a helmet. Rest in peace matthew

  32. Laine on September 12th, 2012 7:36 am

    So sad. RIP Mr. Vaugn.
    Everyone needs to look TWICE.

  33. William on September 12th, 2012 7:29 am

    >> I do wonder, however, if he was wearing a helmet.

    Yes, he was wearing a helmet according to the FHP report.

  34. Patriot on September 12th, 2012 7:25 am


    “Just not geared to see a motorcycle”???????

    As a motorcyclist, your comment really ticks me off!
    As if to absolve yourself of responsibility because it’s a motorcycle. Jeez!!!!

    Do us all a favor KJ, leave the driving to someone else.

  35. amber on September 12th, 2012 6:21 am

    We are not GEARED to see motorcycles? That’s rediculous! Pay attention or Please stay off the roads!!

  36. Matt on September 12th, 2012 6:11 am

    If you have eyes you are geared to see a motorcycle… You just have to be a diligent driver, which most of us are not… It is easier to say we just cant see them… Check TWICE for motorcycles!

  37. Jane on September 12th, 2012 6:10 am

    People just don’t look for motorcycles…they look for other cars. But on the other hand I have seen motorcycles zipping in and out of traffic. It is sad this happened.

  38. fred on September 12th, 2012 5:40 am

    First, my condolences to the family of the deceased, it’s a tragedy to lose someone. I do wonder, however, if he was wearing a helmet.

  39. KME on September 12th, 2012 5:39 am

    Matthew was a husband and dad of two very young children. Matthew adored his family. He was also an active duty Marine. He served at least two tours overseas, one in Afghanistan. Matthew was a beloved and cherished son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend. He will be desperately and sorely missed. His 3 year old son and 5 year old daughter will, most likely, never remember their daddy first hand. I hope the driver is able to find comfort and forgiveness but I also hope this horrendous accident is thoroughly investigated.

  40. SW on September 12th, 2012 5:17 am

    ‘We are just not geared up to see a motorcycle’. Oh well, that just makes it all okay, then. I understand, folks just started riding them so recently, and all. It’ll take drivers a while to get used to those new-fanged contraptions.

  41. KJ on September 12th, 2012 1:47 am

    So very sad for all. We are just not geared to see a motorcycle. Prayers for all concerned.

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