Riders roar to help crash victim’s family

Posted: October 8, 2012

The Winchester Star

Motorcycle riders raise their arms Saturday afternoon to show the pink wristbands they were wearing for the “School Dude Riders” benefit for the family of the late Amber Lucchiani. Lucchiani was killed in a car accident July 12, leaving behind a husband and two young children. She was a sixth-grade teacher at Robert E. Aylor Middle School in Frederick County. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)
Antonio Lucchiani, widower of Amber Lucchiani, addresses the crowd before the start of the benefit ride. “It’s just been phenomenal how this community comes together to help my family,” he said. “I know Amber is looking down here smiling.”
Bikers leave Robert E. Aylor Middle School near Stephens City at the start of the ride. Amber Lucchiani taught social studies at the school. About 40 bikers took part in the event, which ended with a cookout at the Frederick County Public Schools’ Building and Grounds Department on Woodbine Road in Clear Brook.
Amber Lucchiani

STEPHENS CITY — Nearly 40 motorcyclists turned out Saturday for an emotional ride to benefit the family of the late Amber Lucchiani.

The “School Dude Riders” — an organization of Frederick County Public Schools employees who ride motorcycles — hosted the event.

“We generally try to do one of these a year to benefit somebody,” said Randy Cornwell, a FCPS technician and a rider organizer.

Each biker on Saturday made a $20 donation to the Lucchiani family, plus $5 for each additional rider.

Lucchiani, a sixth-grade teacher at Frederick County’s Robert E. Aylor Middle School, was killed July 12 when the minivan she was driving on Jubal Early Drive in Winchester was struck by a Ford pickup truck that crossed the median. The driver of the pickup was charged with reckless driving.

Lucchiani’s two young children were with her in the minivan when the crash occurred. They survived the accident, but their 38-year-old mother died at the scene.

Dennis Grove, a FCPS technician and a rider organizer, said the School Dude Riders wanted to raise as much money as possible for the family, but that there wasn’t a set goal.

Antonio Lucchiani, who rode in the benefit, said he has been overwhelmed with community support since he lost his wife.

“I cannot express how grateful I am for this community,” he said. “It’s just been phenomenal how this community comes together to help my family. I know Amber is looking down here smiling.”

Lucchiani said his wife had a great love and passion for the local community and that he intends to give back in any way he can after the help and support he has received.

As for how he and his children are holding up, Lucchiani said they take it day by day.

“We miss her, we think about her every day and we talk about her every day,” he said, adding that they also often look through family pictures.

He said his kids, ages 3 and 5, are his main motivation in life.

“My kids are such a big help for me,” he said, smiling. “They’re so resilient.”

Saturday’s benefit ride began at 3 p.m. at Aylor Middle School on Aylor Road in Stephens City. The route went from Lebanon Church to Wardensville, W.Va., and then to the Frederick County Public Schools’ Building and Grounds Department on Woodbine Road in Clear Brook for a cookout.

Lucchiani said he used to have a motorcycle, but that he got rid of it when he and Amber married.

He laughed as he talked about how he used to try and convince her to let him get another one.

He joked that after a dreary Saturday morning and a threat of rain, it was Amber trying to keep him from riding.

Ultimately though, he said, it was Amber who brought out the sun for in time for the ride.

“She would have been here, she is here,” Lucchiani told the bikers who were gathered before the ride.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com