NEW MILFORD -- Having spent the better part of the last five decades riding and tinkering with motorcycles, George DeAlessio was well acquainted with their inherent dangers.
He was wary of riding on the highway and always wore a helmet, his relatives said. It made his death on Wednesday while riding down Route 109 in New Milford all the more baffling.
New Milford police are still trying to determine what exactly happened that morning.
What they do know is that DeAlessio, 66, was heading west on a 2005 Yamaha on the snaking road that connects New Milford and Thomaston when he lost control of his bike, police said.
A witness said he watched as DeAlessio was tossed from the motorcycle.
DeAlessio was alive when paramedics arrived, surrounded by a few passers-by who had stopped to help. He later died of his injuries at Danbury Hospital, police said.
The crash remains under investigation. New Milford police are urging anyone who witnessed the crash to call investigators at 860-355-3133.
"From what I know, he had been riding bikes for along time, so at this point we don't know what the cause is," New Milford police Sgt. Brian Glasser, the commanding officer at the scene, said on Thursday.
"At this point we'll do an inspection on the motorcycle. We'll try to ... determine the steps that he took."
DeAlessio went to work at Nestle USA right out of high school, and retired from there 40 years later, said his wife, Cassandra.
He bought his first motorcycle in his late teens, "a little Ducati," and he was hooked, she said.
Cassandra DeAlessio described her husband as a lively, gregarious man with a wry sense of humor. She said he enjoyed working on his cars and doing odd jobs around the house he had designed and built.
"He would come up with a quip or a one-liner about anything and it would be funny," she said.
But, his passion remained riding motorcycles.
His family members are in town from Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania to plan his funeral, Cassandra DeAlessio said by telephone on Thursday.
"The troops are rallying," she said. "He was probably the best person that we've ever known."
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