Family mourns Apex airman killed in motorcycle crash

5 July 2022

— On a day celebrating freedom, independence and what it means to be an American, a Wake County family is grieving the loss of their son who protected that freedom.

He was an airman who died two weeks ago in a horrific motorcycle crash in Oklahoma.

25-year-old Zachary Lyon Jr. always knew he would protect and serve. He joined the Air Force Junior ROTC in high school.

“He was a great kid, smart, lived life big,” said his father. “He felt gravitated to it. Like it was a calling.”

Lyon was assigned after high school to the 552nd Air Control Wing in Oklahoma.

“He was part of servicing, taking care of planes for our country,” said Lyon Sr.

On June 23, he left the Air Force installation in uniform and went on a motorcycle ride, according to his dad.

“He was loving life on his motorcycle that feeling of freedom, the ride and sadly the ride bit him,” said his father.

Staff Sargeant Lyon grazed a wall with this bike and fell off an overpass onto oncoming traffic — good Samaritans rushed to help and tried to save him from further injuries.

“Took me a minute to realize that he had fallen from the bridge. It just didn’t make sense at first,” said bystander Emily Armstrong. “I thought, my God, this is a man that swore to protect and serve our country. He needs us.”

Zach spent three days on life support.

“We were there when he had his first breath and his last,” said his father.

But they knew a man they call a true patriot would live on in others.

“It’s the most difficult thing. We are hoping and praying who receive his life gifts ultimately reach out to us and share his story,” said his father.

Zach’s family has created a tribute page for him in hopes that other family members who lost loved ones all too soon will find support there.

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