Grappling with Tragedy is a series of articles that deal with unfortunate, tragic incidents that have occurred throughout the history of professional wrestling. It is unlike the ‘Wrestling with Sin’ series that deals more with the seedier side of wrestling like arrests, murders and suicides. Grappling looks more at particular tragic incidents that have in some instances altered pro wrestling in some way.
Matthew Palacios aka ‘Matt Travis’ was trained by the Amazing Red and began his career in 2013. The combination of pure charisma and keen athletic agility made him one of the fastest rising stars in the New York independent scene. As Matt Travis was becoming the talk of the wrestling world competing in places like Game Changer Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling and House of Glory, there wasn’t a question that he would soon be wrestling on a national level.
In the early morning hours of November 9th, 2019, Travis was riding his bike in East Harlem…reportedly returning from a training session. Travis was traveling south on a bike path coming off the Willis Avenue Bridge around 2:30 a.m. when a dump truck traveling southbound made an illegal left turn striking Matt Travis and continued driving. Matt Travis was rushed to a nearby hospital with severe trauma, but was eventually pronounced dead.
About a month later, NYPD made an arrest…a 48 year old truck driver named Luc Vu. He was charged with reckless driving, failure to yield to a bicyclist, failure to obey a traffic device, drive left of pavement marking and failure to exercise due care. It is unclear if Vu realized he had struck Travis and kept driving or if he never realized that he hit someone. Vu was fired from the trucking company he worked for and plead guilty to the charges.
Luc Vu has had his driver’s license revoked and was fined $250. He will receive a conditional discharge in one year if he doesn’t have additional legal trouble. Vu was set free and has to later appear in court to show the judge that he’s in compliance with the court orders. Many friends and family were outraged that Vu received such a light punishment for the death of Matt Travis. Matthew ‘Matt Travis’ Palacios was just 25 years old.