‘Just a really nice guy’: Community mourns actor killed in Vt. motorcycle crash

Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 5:25 PM EDT
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DORSET, Vt. (WCAX) - Police are investigating a motorcycle crash in Bennington County that claimed the life of a Hollywood actor who called our region home.

Vermont State Police say Treat Williams, 71, was riding a motorcycle on Route 30 in Dorset Monday afternoon when he collided with an SUV that turned into his path.

“He was just a really nice guy and this is just a huge tragedy for the community,” said Matt Rapphahn who owns Long Trail Auto in Dorset.

Rapphahn was outside the shop talking with a customer Monday when he witnessed the crash, involving a motorcycle and an SUV. He called 911 and went to help, and found the man on the motorcycle was his friend Treat Williams.

“He was responsive to questions,” Rapphahn said. “I had my hopes pretty high that he was going to pull through.”

Williams was airlifted to the Albany Medical Center in New York where he later died from his injuries.

Police say the SUV was turning left into the auto shop and crossed into the path of Williams’ oncoming motorcycle. They say that the SUV driver, Ryan Koss, 35, of Pownal, used his blinker and there was no evidence of driving under the influence.

“The at-fault hasn’t been determined because we need to utilize all our tools and also in coordination with the state’s attorney office to determine next steps in the at-fault operator,” Vt. State Police Lt. Steven Coote said.

Williams, an actor for nearly 50 years, starred in various TV shows such as “Everwood” and movies including “Hair.”

The death came as a shock to the Vermont community he called home.

“He was just very easy to talk to. He was just like another guy, you know, and every experience I had with him was great. Just talk about movies, cars, motorcycles, music,” Rapphahn said.

“As a community, everybody is in shock. Even if they didn’t know him, they knew of Treat,” said Greg Cutler, the vice chair of the Manchester select board.

Cutler says Williams was known for donations to local charities.

Cutler says he was a fan of WIlliams’ work but also became friends with the actor.

“That’s my take from spending time with him-- whatever he was talking about he was incredibly passionate,” he said.

With the community and fans of the actor mourning the loss, Rapphahn has a message for the next time you hit the road: “Pay attention. Watch out for the motorcycles.”

Related Story:

Actor Treat Williams of ‘Everwood’ killed in Vermont motorcycle crash