Weather Alerts

MAN CHARGED: Friends Remember Killed Biker

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Friends of a motorcyclist who police say was killed by a drunk driver are speaking out.

There's plenty of damage on the motorcycle that police say was hit head on by a drunk driver March 29th.

The rider of the motorcycle, Mike Harden, was on his way back from doing a charity ride to raise money for a child who died of cancer. He died on Tuesday.

Harden went doing the two things he loved most - riding his bike and helping others.

"Mike smiled. When Mike was around he'd joke around. He always smiled. He was always there. He was a helper,” friend Bob Coffey says. “He wanted to participate in everything and you knew when he was around because he had a glow about him"

Coffey has been friends with Harden for more than 25-years. Tuesday night, he said goodbye to Harden for the last time. He can't stop crying.

"I’ve had my glasses on all day. I had to go talk to customers and it was hard. It's still hard. He was a close good friend. I saw him every day last week and I saw him 15 minutes before it happened."

Jacob Phipps of Des Moines is charged with vehicular homicide. Witnesses say the 21-year-old was speeding along East 30th Street near Dean when he lost control of his car slamming into Harden's bike.

Police say Phipps was drunk and had an open bottle of vodka in the car with him. Harden's friends say this was no accident.

"This was a drunk driver so this wasn't somebody being careless. This was somebody that intentionally decided to drive under the influence and took a man's life,” friend Jon Richeson says.

"The community lost a hell of a man,” Richeson adds. “Great guy."

Dozens of motorcyclists plan to honor Harden Thursday night by riding to the spot where he was killed.


  • do ur job

    Although their emotions are raw and the death is both senseless and tragic, his friends could do more for his legacy by realizing they should feel blessed that the stupid decisions they made when younger where no more permanent than the amount of time for the aspirins to kick in.

  • sally

    Ok, do ur job, i’m not sure what you are saying, but, it almost sounds like you are accusing this deceased man’s friend of drinking and driving when they were young? Or, at the very least, defending Phipps, because he was young and just made a bad decision…no big deal, right, everyone makes bad choices when they are young. Wrong! Youth is no excuse for a choice like this.
    Guess what, not everyone drives drunk. when we were young, we either had a designated driver, or stayed where ever the party was if we were drunk. We didn’t jump in our cars with a fifth of vodka in our hands and take off.
    It sounds like Phipps didn’t just have a couple of social drinks and not realize he was impaired. It sounds like he was sloshed and should never have been behind the wheel. Neither situation is right, but, the second is definitely worse. He had to know he shouldn’t have been driving.

  • know your facts

    This wasnt an accident! Jacob and his family have caused all sorts of trouble all over Des Moines. Im sorry but to intentionally drive drunk (and drinking), run someone over who is on a motorcycle, and then get out and steal the guys wallet as he is laying on the ground bleeding and dying… doesnt seem like he lost control to me…

    • JcW

      Thank you for bringing to light that this lowlife not only hit Mike but he also took his billfold while he was was laying there injured…he cleaned out his bank account….who does that!!!

      • No

        Actually the passenger in Phipps car stole the wallet(Scott Penney)… And no bank accounts were cleaned out because the bikers riding with Harden got the wallet back at the scene.

Comments are closed.