Writer Vanishes on Motorcycle Test Drive in California: I'm 'Completely Gutted,' Says Girlfriend
A massive search is underway for David Johnson, whose motorcycle was found near a river
Authorities in California are looking for a veteran automotive journalist who vanished on Wednesday while test-driving a motorcycle through the Sonora Pass, reports say.
David Johnson, 44, was taking a spin on a Honda CB1000R for Motorcyclist magazine when he disappeared, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. He had spent the weekend riding around with his girlfriend before driving to Las Vegas and then through the pass Tuesday night, KCRA reported.
Johnson — who used the byline Davey G. Johnson — is a contributor to Car and Driver, the Michigan-based automotive enthusiast magazine, according to the publication.
Johnson’s girlfriend, Jaclyn Trop, told KCRA that she last heard from him around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, when he sent her a text message to let her know he was okay.
“I had a great time before it got dark,” Johnson reportedly wrote. “That part of the Sierra is just stupidly spectacular. Anyway, I’m so sorry I worried you. Yes, I am okay and alive, but I am WIPED.”
He was last heard from around 8:30 a.m. that day, when he texted a friend to say he was headed home, according to Car and Driver. Johnson was reported missing in Sacramento County on Wednesday, CNN reported, and Calaveras County two days later, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.
On Saturday, deputies found the motorcycle, along with Johnson’s helmet and gloves, parked at a rest stop in Calaveras County, USA Today reported. His phone, backpack and laptop were later found by the Mokelumne River, according to the publication.
CBS News notes that the Sonora Pass is the “second-tallest highway pass in the Sierra Nevada,” popular for “winding, steep and sometimes icy roads, even in June.”
“I just really hope he’s alive, because thinking about the alternative yesterday was … I don’t even have words for it,” Trop said, according to USA Today. “I was completely gutted, and I would still feel that way if they hadn’t found the bike.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help fund the search efforts. As of Tuesday morning, 237 people had donated more than $16,500.
Johnson’s friends are looking for him and authorities have deployed boats, a helicopter and dozens of searchers to find the man, CBS News reported.
Meanwhile, Trop said she is not giving up hope, but admits the ordeal is taking a toll on her.
“We always talked about having 40 years together,” she told CBS News, “and we had a four-year timeline and to have that cut short … is horrible.”