A head-on collision took the life of Orange County firefighter Michael E. Priester. Although the victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision with a pickup truck, he was killed instantly.
Michael E. Priester was only 53 years old when he died on the morning of February 21, 2009. He was on his way home on U.S. 17 North of Old Daytona Road in Volusia County when a pickup truck collided head-on with his motorcycle; he was wearing his helmet at the time of the crash.
His noteworthy career with Orange County Fire Rescue had spanned nearly 18 years, beginning on April 21, 1991. He’d been most recently assigned to the Special Operations Squad Unit at Fire Station 83. He will be sorely missed by his fellow firefighters and paramedics. He is survived by his wife. The cause of the crash was investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol, and it was determined that the pickup truck had swerved suddenly in to the stricken motorcyclist’s lane. Residing in Deland, Priester was very active in the local firefighter’s labor union and was revered by his colleagues for his lively sense of humor. He would loudly imitate “Curly” of the legendary 1930s Comedy Troupe “The Three Stooges,” while greeting loved ones or his many friends by having them pull his index finger straight out as if it were a living party favor. As a younger man, he would amuse friends by pursing his bushy eyebrows together into a “Groucho Marx” monobrow.
He would give small boys from the neighborhood rides on the “Big Red Engine” while being generous with his time. This fire truck with its hook n’ ladder was more than 60 feet long – a giant attraction to an awestruck boy.
He always loved motorcycles. A memorable “bike” was a GPZ that he handled with skillful aplomb. Another friend described Mike as “kind-hearted, always a smile on his lips, who loved his work. At Tallulah Park, he once performed CPR to save the life of an elderly woman, aged 97. He cherished other human beings, both old and young.
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