Nicole Dunn, 29, of Rapid City was killed Sunday after she was thrown from a motorcycle at around 4 p.m. near Keystone.

The driver of the 2006 Suzuki motorcycle, Ryan Wiechmann, 31, of Rapid City was traveling north on U.S. Highway 16A near milepost 58, 1 mile north of Keystone, when he moved from the right lane to the left lane to get around slower traffic, according to police.

A vehicle driven by Jason Garza, 33, of Phoenix, Ariz., was stopped in the left lane waiting to turn into a parking lot. Wiechmann was unable to avoid striking the rear of Garza’s 2006 Dodge Caravan, police said.

Garza said he could see the motorcycle coming in his rear-view mirror.

“It seemed like at the last minute he realized what was happening and swerved,” Garza said at the scene. “My wife and I were shaken up. Realizing after a minute that she had died instantly was really difficult.”

Garza said he was also worried about his 7-month-old, who was in a car seat in the van. The child was uninjured.

A southbound 1998 Chevrolet Blazer driven by David Leitchmann, 60, of Savage, Minn., moved toward the shoulder of the roadway to avoid the motorcycle and occupants coming into the lane of travel. However, Leitchmann was unable to avoid the passenger from the motorcycle, Dunn, striking the motorcycle.

Dunn suffered fatal injuries. Wiechmann was transported to Rapid City Regional with serious non-life-threatening injuries.

Traffic in each direction was tied up for nearly two hours as authorities reconstructed the accident.

Lt. David Berkley of highway patrol said no charges have been filed, and the accident remains under investigation.

Wiechmann and Dunn were not wearing helmets.

A death notice for Nicole Dunn is on page A10.

Journal reporter Nick Penzenstadler contributed to this report.

Contact Hannah Baker at 394-8419 or


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