EARLY — A weekend ride involving four motorcycling buddies from the Metroplex area turned disastrous for one one of them Friday morning in Early.

Two of the motorcycles collided at low speed as the group drove away from a red light at Early Boulevard and CC Woodson, sending one of the riders to the pavement and inflicting a severe head injury, Early police said.

The injured rider, Forrest Scott Martin, 51, of Grand Prairie, was not wearing a helmet and was airlifted to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, police said. He was initially treated at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.

A Shannon hospital spokesman declined to release information Friday afternoon, citing instructions from his family.

Martin’s 2005 Harley Davidson sustained minor damage, Early Police Chief David Mercer and patrolman Butch Lawson said.

“It was an unfortunate, freak accident, one of those unfortunate things,” Lawson said. He and Mercer said Martin was injured by not wearing a helmet.

“They weren’t going fast at all,” Mercer said. “They just kind of bumped into each other.”

Lawson said the four were from various Metroplex communities and were riding to Fort Davis for the weekend. They were westbound on Early Boulevard when the accident happened at 9:52 a.m. in front of the Taylor Chevron station.

As the four left the red light, Martin’s motorcycle veered into another Harley Davidson in the group, Mercer said. The second motorcycle stayed upright, and Martin’s motorcycle continued about 10 feet before going down, he said.

An Air Evac Life Team helicopter landed near the accident site to fly Martin, but he couldn’t be immediately flown because he couldn’t immediately be stabilized, Mercer said.

He was taken instead by Guardian EMS to Brownwood Regional Medical Center, where he was stabilized and then flown to San Angelo, Mercer said.

Mercer said he has investigated other motorcycle accidents in which “a relatively minor accident, if you can have one on a motorcycle, turns into a fatality because of the lack of a helmet.”

Brownwood police and Brown County Sheriff’s deputies assisted at the accident because of major traffic problems in the construction area, Mercer said.

In an unrelated accident Friday afternoon, rescue personnel were responding to a traffic accident in Bangs near the Dollar General Store and were calling for a helicopter ambulance.

No other details were available.