The close friend of a local man who died in a motorcycle accident last month is speaking out about his friend.
Denny Randall Sheldon, 52, was identified by the Clark County Coroner’s office as the motorcyclist killed on Friday, October 24.
Steve Bird has known Sheldon for more than 8 years.
He described his friend as someone who would offer the shirt off of his back to help someone in need.
“I only knew Denny Sheldon for about 8 years or so, but from our conversations and my observations of how he conducted himself and how he treated others, it was obvious right from the start that he was ‘one of the good guys,’ or as my dad used to say, ‘A man to ride the river with,’ Bird said.
Sheldon served in the U.S.Navy for 8 years.
Upon his retirement from the military, Bird said his friend had a number of different occupations, including a long-haul truck driver, armored car guard, commercial fisherman, limousine driver, and most recently a warehouseman at a firearms business in Pahrump.
“He was laid off from his last job as a warehouseman about 18 months ago, and had not been able to find work beyond the odd jobs since then,” he said. “His mom passed away about the same time he was laid off. Things were a little tight for him financially,” he said.
Bird last spoke to his friend roughly three weeks ago, when Sheldon was preparing last month to move back to Alaska where he was a resident of Wasilla and Anchorage, Alaska years ago.
“He sold off some of his favorite toys,” Bird said. “They were mostly motorcycles and cars that he bought over the years. I last spoke to him exactly three weeks to the day before his death, and he was in the process of selling off pretty much everything that he owned except for the motorcycle he recently restored. He was planning on riding it up to Alaska.”
Additionally, Bird said his friend was quite handy when it came to starting and finishing projects.
“He was a very good auto and motorcycle mechanic, a fair-to-middling gunsmith and had a huge knowledge base on firearms, cars and motorcycles,” Bird recalled. “He liked to hunt, fish and shoot targets when he had the time and money. He had a wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects, his favorites being cars, motorcycles, and firearms.”
As far as riding motorcycles, Bird noted that his friend had many years of riding experience under his belt.
“He was an extremely experienced motorcycle rider, both on the street and off road, and had competed in motorcycle racing as a young man for close to 20 years, having started riding at the age of 16 he once told me,” Bird said. “He leaves behind a large number of friends who will miss his ready wit, his infectious grin and his willingness to help out friends and strangers in need.”
Bird also said Sheldon had a 5-year-old dog named “Sammy” that now needs a new family.
“He left behind a purebred Schipperke that he was really crazy about,” he said. “I just checked and Sammy the Schipperke is at the animal shelter and I have started the ball rolling to get him released to a forever home, as Denny would have wanted his little buddy to go to a good home.”
As far as local memorial services, Bird said everything is pending until Sheldon’s family decides what to do.
“As far as I know, there are no services pending and I don’t know what will happen to his remains at this point. I and others are still trying to track down his daughters and ex-wives. We know their names, and believe that they are all still in the Anchorage / Wasilla area,” he said.
Sheldon, was on a Suzuki motorcycle heading eastbound on State Route 372 near Linda Street when Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers said a late-model Toyota Scion hatchback pulled out in front the motorcyclist just after 2 p.m., authorities said.
The vehicle was stopped on Red Rock and preparing to turn left onto 372 when the driver of the car crossed onto the line of travel of the motorcycle where Sheldon had little time to react and struck the front quarter panel of the Scion.
Troopers say although he was wearing a helmet at the time, Sheldon was airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he died of his injuries a short time later.
Rivera said the driver of the car was transported to Desert View Hospital for evaluation. The name of the driver, or any information on pending charges, has not been released.