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Motorcycle wrecks claim two lives in county

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Last week, two motorcycle deaths were reported in Bandera County, according to Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Matt King.
The first occurred on Tuesday, July 8, on Highway 16 North, near Arms of Hope, the former Medina Children's Home. At approximately 7:35 pm that evening, a father and son were traveling north, riding separate motorcycles, with the son, John Ziminskas, 27, in the lead. Eventually, the son noticed his father was no longer following him.
Doubling back, John Ziminskas saw his father, Robert Ziminskas, 67, lying on the side of the road. Emergency telecommunications dispatched Deputy Michael Case and EMS to the accident scene. Despite all efforts, the elder Ziminskas could not be revived and was pronounced dead, according to reports.
It was surmised that after losing control of his motorcycle, he hit a utility pole. It is unknown if the deceased was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Both the father and son lived in Georgetown.
The second motorcycle fatality was reported Thursday, July 10, on Sparrow Hawk Lane, just off FM 3240. A call came in to emergency dispatch at 5:45 am after a motorist on his way to work reported sighting an unconscious man on the side of the road. Austin Van Johns, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene after EMS personnel were unable to resuscitate him.
According to reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Johnson had been traveling south on FM 3240 and lost control of his 2009 Suzuki motorcycle as he attempted to turn left onto Sparrow Hawk Lane. The crash occurred about 100 feet off FM 3240. According to King, Johnson was not wearing a helmet at the time of the fatal accident. BCSO officers responding to the scene were Sgt. Gerald "Jerry" Johnson and Cpl. DJ Nowlin.
Although currently living in Waco, Johnson graduated from Bandera High School in 2010. His obituary is published on page 6A of the Courier.
Speculating on the two fatalities, King surmised that Johnson's might have been caused by road conditions. "The accident happened close to the point where the paved road turns to gravel," he said. "And the road is also very dark and winding." King added, "Both accidents occurred during the week in good riding conditions without a lot of traffic."
Cautioning all motorcyclists, he advised, "I know this had been said before, but it's very true. When you ride a motorcycle, it's not about 'if' an accident is going to happen, but 'when.' Motorcyclists should pay particular attention to their surroundings at all times."