AceShowbiz - An eyewitness has recalled the harrowing moments after Treat Williams was involved in a motorcycle accident that would take his life. Vermont resident Matt Rapphahn said the actor was alert and able to respond to paramedics' questions after being thrown from his motorcycle on Monday, June 12 in Vermont, but he was "in great deal of pain."
Matt tells PEOPLE he initially had his back to Route 30 but turned around "just in time" to see the actor being thrown an estimated 15 feet from his 1983 Honda VT700c after being struck by a 2008 Honda Element. "I ran over to [Treat], and then I ran back to the shop and called 911," recalls the eyewitness.
Matt, who owns the auto repair shop Long Trail Auto in East Dorset, says he did not immediately recognize the "Everwood" star, but the driver of the car got out of his vehicle to "console" and knew it was Treat. "It was hard to tell [it was Treat] with the helmet on," he says, "but [the driver] knows him - knew him - and he was saying, 'Oh, my God, it's Treat.' "
When emergency services arrived, Treat was "conscious and verbal." Matt says, "Emergency services were asking him questions," adding when paramedics moved the "Blue Bloods" alum onto a backboard, "he was in a great deal of pain." He explains, "But they had to get him onto the backboard to get him onto the stretcher and then onto the ambulance."
Sharing a similar account of the accident, Matt tells Daily Mail, "He was totally laid out, and they [first responders] were asking him basic questions, like 'Do you know where you are?' and 'What's your wife's name?' " He continues, "He was responsive. He seemed like he was awake the whole time because, obviously, when they had to move him, you could see he was in a great deal of pain. They loaded him up into the ambulance and drove off."
Matt adds, "Honestly, I was pretty hopeful that he was going to pull through." The Vermonter goes on remembering the actor, who had been living in Vermont, "He was just always funny and good-natured and asked how you're doing with genuine interest in the people he was talking to."
According to Vermont State Police, Treat "suffered critical injuries and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, where he was pronounced dead." He was 71 years old.
"As you can imagine, we are shocked and greatly bereaved at this time," his family said in a statement to Deadline. "Treat was full of love for his family, for his life and for his craft, and was truly at the top of his game in all of it. It is all so shocking right now, but please know that Treat was dearly and deeply loved and respected by his family and everyone who knew him."
The family added, "We are beyond devastated and ask that you respect our privacy as we deal with our grief. To all his fans, please know that Treat appreciated all of you and please continue to keep him in your hearts and prayers."
On Wednesday, Treats' daughter Ellie Williams took to her Instagram Story to share her heartbreak over the loss. "This is a pain I have never felt," she wrote over an old photo of her late dad. "I am absolutely shattered." The actress added, "Thank you to everyone who has sent messages and kept our family in your hearts during this terrible heartbreak."