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Family, friends mourn loss of Prineville motorcycle rider

Chad and Santia Welsh, memorial
Family photo; Rhea Panela/KTVZ
A roadside memorial has been placed near the scene in SW Redmond where motorcyclist Chad Welsh (shown with wife Santia ) suffered fatal injuries in a collision with a minivan
Died after collision with minivan in SW Redmond

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Grieving family and friends of a Prineville motorcyclist killed in a Redmond crash Friday afternoon are expressing shock and sadness over the sudden loss of a hard-working, fun-loving family man and have quickly begun efforts to help his wife and family through the difficult times ahead.

A motorcycle operated by Chad Welsh, 45, and a minivan collided at the intersection of SW Veterans Way and S. First Street, police said. He later died after being taken to St. Charles Bend. Police said all drivers involved were cooperating with police and there had been no determination of fault.

Welsh was a member of the Anubis Ridans Motorcycle Club, and about 20 members staged a tribute ride on a chilly, blue-sky Sunday afternoon past a memorial placed at the Redmond crash scene. 

Several notes already had been written on the roadside blue ankh cross emblazoned CHAD, including one by his wife, Santia: "You're the love of my life, in this one and the next."

Santia Welsh said she and Chad grew up in Dallas, Oregon, where they met; they had been together for seven years, and married two years ago.

She said Chad worked at Fabulous Floors in Bend and had dropped off his work van at a friend's in Redmond, where he stored his motorcycle for the rest of the ride home.

"He was so nice to everybody," Santia Welsh said, tearfully. "He was so caring, so funny. He loved his kids more than anything."

Anubis Ridans is a family-oriented support club from the Free Souls Motorcycle Club that has members across the Northwest.

"He was a great rider," she said. "He just started riding a couple years ago. He was so cautious. He knew that there were people out there that were bad drivers."

"He was just generally fun to be around," she added. "He made everybody laugh. Everybody loved him. He'd do anything for everybody. He was my best friend."

Here's a statement shared with NewsChannel 21, as posted on a fundraising page:

"Chad was enjoying his commute home from work on Friday when his  motorcycle was struck by a car. The injuries he sustained from this low-speed collision quickly turned fatal. 

"Chad was a hard-working provider for his family, who just in the last week had expressed to his daughter, his concern for them if something were to ever happen to him. He feared that he had not planned as he should have, and that his family would be left not only without him, but without the means to support his family unit.

"He had shared with her his future goals, so that they would not have to struggle in his absence. The devastation his family is enduring is heartbreaking.

"Chad adored his wife, Santia. He was a hero to his four children (Jorey, Dre, Sahela & Gavin) and at 45 years old he was a grandpa of three. 

"He recently reconnected with his father Steve, and his mother Wendy is saddened beyond belief. Chad was a loyal and respected brother to his motorcycle club. He worked in the flooring industry for 27 years. He loved the outdoors, especially the sunshine in spring.  

"Chad loved his family and his people. He was loved by so many of you. Let's come together as a community and help Chad rest in ease. We can unite together to achieve this goal he so recently made to support his family through this unimaginable tragedy.

"It is what he worried about, and the last thing in the world he would want his family to struggle through. His wife has health problems and seizures make her unable to work, Chad was the sole provider. 

"Every bit helps, and we all know in our hearts that if it were one of us, he would be the first in line to help. It is our turn."

Family and friends have set up a Facebook donation page at:

And the GoFundMe page is at:

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon
fatal crash
motorcycle crash

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.


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