Retired Fla. Cop Critical After Funeral Escort Crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --

A retired police officer providing a motorcycle escort for a funeral remains in critical condition after an accident Thursday morning on Beach Boulevard.

Police said the motorcycle ridden by Clyde Baker, 81, collided with a car that turned in front of him about 11 a.m. only blocks from Greenlawn Cemetery.

"A motorist traveling in the opposite direction turned in front of the procession, in front of the ... gentleman pulling the funeral," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sgt. R.A. Harville said.

Police did not release the victim's name but Channel 4's Elizabeth Cate confirmed it was Baker, who retired from the JSO in 1989 and regularly provides motorcycle escort for funerals.

A motorcyclist escorting a funeral procession on Beach Boulevard was seriously injured.

Funeral director Kristopher Diebolt said his heart skipped a beat when he realized one of his escorts went down just before the procession arrived at the cemetery.

“As I turned into the cemetery and got a couple cars in, I didn’t see him behind me, and I should’ve seen him by then," Diebolt said.

Diebold said that despite his age, the victim is strong. He was moving and struggling to spreak before he has transported to the hospital, which he takes as a good sign.

Friends told Cate that he's a hard worker and they are praying for him and his family.

Traffic homicide detectives questioned witnesses and were trying to reconstruct the accident, but provided no additional information about who pulled in front of the motorcycle or if charges would be filed.

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