David Bemis, 31, of the Brighton section of Boston, was driving a Honda sport bike, when he struck a Ford Expedition driven by Dr. Jose Baez. The 10:19 a.m. crash occurred at the entrance to First Calvary Baptist Church on Massachusetts Avenue.
Baez was out of his vehicle and holding the motorcyclist's neck to keep it stabilized when rescuers arrived, a witness said.
Police said Bemis worked in Billerica and had relatives in the Dover, N.H., area.
It was unclear last night if speed was a factor in the crash. No charges or citations were filed yesterday.
The crash occurred as Bemis was driving west on Massachusetts Avenue from Route 125. He traveled just a short distance when he struck the Expedition, police said.
Meanwhile, Baez was driving east on Massachusetts Avenue when he turned left to go into the church driveway, cutting across the motorcycle's path, according to police.
The motorcycle left about 35 feet of skid marks, but was unable to avoid striking the Expedition at the front passenger side doorpost, police said.
Minutes after the crash, Jack Moriarty, 51, of 579 Massachusetts Ave., was standing on his front porch overlooking the crash scene, herding his two Yorkshire terriers, Elliott and Lilly, into the house.
Moriarty didn't see the crash. But he heard it.
"I heard a 'ba-boom,' and turned around and saw them. I saw the guy laying over his bike. I went inside and called 911," Moriarty said.
He said he came back out and saw Baez, the driver of the Expedition, which had pulled into the church parking lot, holding the injured motorcyclist's neck.
Bemis was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later in the emergency room, Detective Lt. Paul Gallagher said.
"This has always been a dangerous section of the road and cars have actually driven up on my front lawn to pass cars on the right," said Moriarty, who has lived at the address for 15 years. "There are a lot of fender-benders here - some more serious than others."
Doug Baldwin, 36, has lived at 573 Massachusetts Ave. for about a year.