Durham community, family grieve after city employee‘s death

— A wrecked motorcycle sits in the driveway of a Durham home, a reminder that its driver is never coming home.

Tyrone Royster was killed Wednesday when his motorcycle and a truck collided on his way to work.

His wife, Debbie Royster, said nighttime has been most difficult, “because he’s not there.”

“Only thing I can do is put his shirt on his pillow, and I put his pants there,” she said.

The couple were married for “a wonderful 30 years,” Debbie Royster said.

She said Tyrone Royster was a devoted Pittsburgh Steelers fan and a thoughtful husband.

Initially, the two couldn’t afford a wedding, she said, but on their 17th anniversary, he surprised her with a wedding at their church.

“I got my wish,” Debbie Royster said. “I got to have a wedding, you know?”

Tyrone Royster was a driver for the City of Durham‘s Yard Waste Collection team.

That the team suspended collection for days to grieve is a testament to his impact, his children said.

“He was a role model,” his stepson, Quentin Holloway, said. “He meant something to the community and the people who were most closest to him.”

His daughter said that he wouldn’t be forgotten.

“He’s going to always be in my heart and be in our heart, and he’ll always be missed,” his daughter, Quinesha Royster, said.

The family knows challenges. Tyrone Royster’s daughter was paralyzed in a car crash last year.

But facing this challenge, without their patriarch, could be the toughest yet.

“He wouldn’t want to be dead,” Debbie Royster said. “He would want to be here with us.”

Durham Police identified the other driver involved as Saul Aguilar Lopez.

Police are continuing their investigation and have not filed charges.

Tyrone Royster‘s funeral is scheduled for Oct. 12.