Bethany man dies after moped accident

A 42-year-old Bethany Beach man died Sunday after driving his moped into the back of a parked car on Route 1 in Rehoboth.

Neil Macfarlan was driving his 2004 Venus moped on the shoulder of the highway just after 9 a.m. Sunday when he crashed into a parked 1999 Chevrolet Camaro. Macfarlan flew over the handlebars and hit the back windshield of the sports car before rolling over top the vehicle and landing on the right travel lane of Route 1.

A helicopter transported him to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, where he was later pronounced dead. Macfarlan was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

“Maybe he just took his eyes off of what was in front of him,” said Sgt. Melissa Zebley, a Delaware State Police spokesman, “but we don’t know that at this point. I don’t recall such a case.”

State police officers are investigating the crash. They do not believe alcohol was a factor, Zebley said.

The driver of the Camaro, Daniel Hopple Jr., a 32-year-old Red Lion, Pa. man, legally parked his car on the shoulder of the highway before looking at cars in the Lee Slaughter’s Motor sales lot, police said.

Zebley said that Hopple passed Macfarlan on the road before parking but was out of his car at the time of the incident.

“He was legally parked on the right shoulder, looking through the motor dealership parking lot,” Zebley said. The accident occurred directly in front of the dealership. “For an unknown reason, (Macfarlan) didn’t see him. It wasn’t like he stopped right in front of the moped.”

Smaller mopeds, such as the one in question, are governed on the road by the same laws as bicycles, Zebley said. Their operators should drive them with traffic but preferably on a shoulder. Although Zebley said that such incidents are rare, another local man was critically injured last month after losing control of his moped around a curve on Route 26.

On Sept. 17, Dagsboro resident Thomas O’Mahony, 44, lost control of his moped at the intersection of Powell Farm and Omar Roads at Route 26. The bike went down on its side and struck a stop sign, sending O’Mahony airborne.

He landed on the sidewalk in front of St. George’s Church and was flown to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury in serious condition with head trauma and head lacerations. Unlike Macfarlan, O’Mahony was not wearing a helmet at the time of his accident.