A 27-year-old Indiana man was killed in a motorcycle crash Tuesday night near Sturgis.
The man's name was not released, but the South Dakota Highway Patrol said in a release that he was from Fort Wayne, Ind. His death is the second fatal motorcycle wreck of this year's rally, the same number of fatal crashes as last year to date.
The crash occurred at 8:54 p.m. on Interstate 90, seven miles east of Sturgis. The man was traveling eastbound on a motorcycle when he lost control of the bike. He was not wearing a helmet, highway patrol said.
There were 10 other injury accidents Tuesday and 16 crashes with no injuries, according to Highway Patrol Capt. Jason Ketterling. Three of those crashes resulted in life-threatening injuries to three riders.
In the first crash of the day, a motorcycle was traveling northbound along U.S. Highway 85 five miles north of Deadwood at 10:28 a.m. when the driver lost control in a curve, struck a delineator post and entered a ditch. The driver, a 60-year-old man from Carrollton, Ga., suffered life-threatening injuries. Police said he was wearing a helmet.
Two and a half hours later, a motorcycle was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 385 near Deadwood when the bike and its two occupants, both of Kearney, Neb., went off the roadway and hit a sign. Both riders were thrown from the motorcycle. The driver, a 59-year-old man, suffered serious injuries while the passenger, a 57-year-old woman, sustained life-threatening injuries. Both were wearing helmets.
At 4:23 p.m., a man on a motorcycle traveling westbound on S.D. Highway 34 near Belle Fourche attempted to make a U-turn when he collided with another motorcyclist. The rider of the first motorcycle, a 52-year-old man from Springfield, Mo., suffered life threatening injuries after being thrown from his bike. He was not wearing a helmet.
The other rider, a 42-year-old man from Casa Grande, Ariz., suffered serious injuries when he was also thrown from his bike. He was not wearing a helmet.
Also on Wednesday, law enforcement and medical personnel responded to an injury accident around 5 p.m. near the entrance of Reptile Gardens on U.S. 16 south of Rapid City. According to scanner traffic, multiple bikes were involved.
From Sunday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, the Sturgis Police Department received 767 calls for service, compared with 620 during the same time in 2016.
The number of non-traffic arrests has risen by 25, from 88 in 2016 to 113 this year. Parking citations have also risen to 125 this year from 66 last year.
In addition, nine more people have been jailed, with 68 people jailed compared to 59 last year.
When asked for a reason for the increases, Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s hard to say. The crowd,” VanDewater theorized. “It’s just the amount of people so we’re just having more contacts. We’re up a few in just about every category.”
VanDewater noted that drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor drug arrests were up from last year and that a few counterfeit 20 dollar bills had been spotted, with one suspect in custody. But he downplayed any reports of wisdspread counterfeit problems.
“All in all, we’re sitting pretty good when compared to last year,” he said.
To date, there have been 41 drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor drug arrests, with 19 coming from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday. At this point in the rally last year, there were just 13.
There have also been 11 burglaries to date, while there was only one burglary last year at this point. Traffic citations for illegal parking have seen the most drastic increase, from 66 in 2016 to 125 this year.