Heartland racer killed in drag strip crash

Heartland racer killed in drag strip crash
By: Carly O'Keefe

Benton, IL - The Highway 57 Drag way has had a few accidents since it opened in the 1970's. Its first fatal accident happened Friday night.
The owner of the drag strip says as 23-year-old Dusty Murphy of Thompsonville slowed after crossing the finish line, the front of his bike began to wobble. Murphy lost control, hit a guard rail and was killed instantly.
"He wanted to do and try to do just anything and everything. He never had no fear of anything, and that's part of why we don't have him today," said Dusty's father James Murphy.
His family says Dusty loved to live life on two wheels.
"He was always a dare devil," said Dusty's mother, Sherrie Murphy.
While he was an avid motorcyclist, his parents say he wasn't an experienced racer.
"Dusty hasn't really raced that much, he's rode motorcycles a lot, but not really racing, he was actually an amateur."
But Sherrie and James say their amateur on the track lived life like a pro. According to his parents, Dusty made an impression on everyone he met, and was loved by all who knew him.
"He was a great kid," said Sherrie. "He was just a kid."
At 23-years-old, he'd already accomplished a lot in his years. Dusty had enlisted with the National Guard before he turned 18 and became a father at age 21.
"She was in the little incubator, and it was like, you could just see the love, he just looked at her and adored her," said Sherrie.
His parents say two-and-a-half-year-old Kayla Murphy was the light of Dusty's life. Now that their son has passed away, James and Sherrie plan to raise Kayla. They also plan to keep Dusty in her life, even if it is only through daily reminders of the man he was.
"I think in her growing up, we will continue to tell her stories about Dusty and things that he did, and when she gets to be a young woman, she'll be proud of her dad," said Sherrie.
Funeral services for Dusty Murphy will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Parker-Reedy Funeral Home in West Frankfort. The family is in the process of establishing a scholarship fund for his daughter Kayla Murphy. Donations can be made through the Parker-Reedy Funeral Home.