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DALLAS A motorcycle crash has claimed the life of a UT Southwestern professor and world-renowned burn specialist.

The expertise of Dr. Gary Purdue helped many victims of the September 11th attacks.

Dr. Purdue, 65, was riding his motorcycle early Sunday morning in Northwest Dallas when his bike was struck by a car on Webb Chapel Road just south of Royal Lane around 7:20 a.m.

The impact propelled his body through a wooden fence.

Dr. Purdue was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital, the same hospital where he has been director of the nationally-recognized burn unit for the past 22 years.

The car's driver, 24-year-old Justin Heaton, was charged with intoxication manslaughter.

His colleagues remember Purdue as an outstanding clinician, educator and role model.

Dr. Purdue joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1982 and became a professor in 1994. He won several national and international awards for his work.

In 1998, he was recognized as Physician of the Year for his outstanding commitment to the healing process.

In the days after September 11, when air traffic was shut down across the country, Purdue organized a much-needed delivery sending a shipment of skin replacement to New York City to treat those burned in the attacks.

Known for his attention to the needs of burn victims' families, Dr. Purdue's true pride was his own family.

Just a few years away from retirement, he leaves behind his wife, Laurel, of 32 years, three children, and a grandson. His family asked not to be interviewed on Sunday.

They wanted to make sure other families knew that Dr. Purdue was wearing a helmet and pads at the time of the fatal accident.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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