Memorial ride planned to honor DUI crash victim

Posted at 11:37 PM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 04:38:54-05

Members of the Christian motorcycle group Fastlane for Christ are planning a memorial ride of Matthew “Jif” DeRemer on Jan. 16. 

The group’s founder and president, David “Moto” Bishop, said they affectionately gave DeRemer the call sign “Jif” because he loved peanut butter. Moto said he will never forget the first time Jif came over to his house.

“He walked in the door and went to my refrigerator, not knowing him from Adam really, and grabbed a beer out opened it, took my peanut butter jar out of the pantry with his finger and ate some peanut butter. Then told me had to take a shower cause he just came from the gym,” Moto said.

From that point on Moto said he knew the 31-year-old surgical tech was special.

“He was on fire, he wanted all of us to be challenged, all of us to do more bible studies,” Moto said.  “He just wanted to reach everybody.  So, in his death that is what we feel like he has done.  As this has gotten larger and larger he has done what he needed to do.”

As of Wednesday evening, DeRemer’s Facebook post has been shared more than 20,000 times and has more than 60,000 likes.  The tragedy of how the former Marine died has been reported by news agencies across the globe.

“He just wanted to reach everybody.  So, in his death that is what we feel like he has done,” Moto said.  “We’ve had people literally stop and say ‘man I never knew Jif we don't ride motorcycles but I need to go back to church or start praying again’ and just out of this tragedy so many lives have been saved because of Jif’s passing.”

At 10:06 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, DeRemer posted this message.

"We are born in 1 day. We die in 1 day. We can change in 1 day. And we can fall in love in 1 day. Anything can happen in just 1 day,” that was followed by a typed message:

Last day of 2015!!!! For me I'll be meditating through all I do, on this entire year. I've lost, I've gained, family is closer and tougher than ever before, loved ones lost, and new friends found. There has been many times where I've been found on my knees in prayer for hours (relentless) and other times leading a group of people in prayer, my faith (that I love to share) is an everyday awakening (to me) that people, lives, and circumstances can change for the better OVER TIME. I look back at 2015's huge challenges that I've overcome, shared with others, and have once again found myself... To say thank you and BRING ON 2016, much works to be done! And I really don't know where I'll end up tonight but I do know where I windup is where I'm meant to be.

He was killed while riding his motorcycle in his home of Seminole, Florida, just before 8 p.m. on Dec. 31.

MORE | Veteran's chilling final Facebook post will break your heart

Florida Highway Patrol arrested and charged Steven Lee Clarke, 59, with DUI Manslaughter. Investigators said Clarke made a left turn directly into the path of DeRemer as he was traveling westbound on CR-296. DeRemer was wearing a helmet. 

The memorial ride for DeRemer will be led by his father.  Moto said motorcycle riders or people who don’t ride are welcome to join the memorial ride following along in their cars. 

They plan to meet January 16 at Grace Family Church, 5101 Van Dyke Road, Lutz at 8 a.m. The ride will begin at 9:45 a.m. and end at BridgePoint Church, 6690 Crosswinds Dr. N, St. Petersburg.