Driving test accident results in cyclist death

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

A routine driving test turned tragic Wednesday afternoon and resulted in the death of a motorcyclist in front of Lincoln County’s highway patrol office, authorities said.

     Justin Cataldo, 31, of Florida, died Wednesday evening from injuries received in a collision at approximately 4:20 p.m. that afternoon with a vehicle driven by Jesse A. James, 19, of 7104 Martinsville Road, said Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson.

     James was at the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M headquarters on Highway 84 to take a driving test. James, driving a 2005 Chevrolet, was attempting to make a left turn onto Highway 84 when he pulled in front of Cataldo, who struck the Chevrolet while traveling east on Highway 84. Cataldo was driving a 1999 Honda BTM motorcycle, Henderson said.

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     A driving test instructor was in the vehicle with James, with no other passengers present, the police chief said.

     Cataldo was wearing a helmet. The speed Cataldo was driving at the time of the accident is currently unknown, the chief said.

     The Florida man was transported from the scene to King’s Daughters Medical Center. From there he was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he died at 7:25 p.m., said Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris.

     Cataldo was traveling from Phoenix, Ariz. to his brother’s house in Florida, McMorris said. Family members spoke to Cataldo by phone at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday and were told he planned to reach Pensacola, Fla. Wednesday night.

     Cataldo’s body will be transported today to Ohio where his mother, Mary Daniels, lives, McMorris said. A Wellsville, Ohio, funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

     The accident remains under investigation.