Motorcycle accident kills two in Astoria

Police investigate a fatal motorcycle crash in the Ditmars section of Astoria that took the lives of Michael Fernandez, 32, and Jennifer Manthorne, 36. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Loved ones of a 32-year-old motorcyclist and his female passenger, who were both killed in a collision over the weekend, have transformed an Astoria corner into a massive memorial for the pair.

Dozens of mementos and messages were arranged on 20th Avenue and 24th Street in tribute to Michael Fernandez and 36-year-old Jennifer Manthorne, who police say lived together in Astoria.

The unregistered bike they had been riding slammed into an SUV making a U-turn in Astoria at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the NYPD said. A police spokesman said the motorcycle did not have a license plate, and Fernandez’s motorcycle license had been suspended.

A 56-year-old woman who had been behind the wheel of the Nissan Xterra SUV was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was listed in stable condition immediately after the crash, according to cops.

“My sister, she heard a loud bang,” said 16-year-old Christian, who lives nearby and came upon the crash’s aftermath.

“I saw a lady on the ground and a man on the ground and they were both already dead,” he said. “After that you saw the family members start to come in.”

The teen described a distraught relative of one of the accident victims’ fainting and being taken away in an ambulance.

Among handwritten notes for Manthorne at the intersection where she died was one signed by her relatives that read, “RIP Jennifer. Your presence is missed by all of us. We love you!”

More than 50 lit candles lined the sidewalk Wednesday morning in the large display, which also included a stuffed frog riding a motorcycle, bouquets of flowers, rosary beads and crosses. Poster boards were taped to a garage door and a wall.

A funeral for Manthorne was scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Rita’s Church, at 36-25 11th St. in Long Island City.

Reach Managing Editor Christina Santucci by phone at 718-260-4589 or by email at timesledgerphotos@gmail.com.

Updated 12:50 am, September 20, 2013
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