Accidents up, fatalities down during 2013 Sturgis rally

2013-08-12T06:00:00Z 2013-08-12T07:46:03Z Accidents up, fatalities down during 2013 Sturgis rallyJohn Lee McLaughlin Journal staff Rapid City Journal
August 12, 2013 6:00 am  • 

Injury accidents have spiked during this year's Sturgis motorcycle rally, but overall the roadway death toll came in comparatively lower than previous years with six dead by the final tally.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol reported that two fatal accidents were handled in the Sturgis area with Rapid City officials responding to four fatal wrecks throughout the week.

Last year's rally saw nine fatal wrecks.

A total of 69 injury accidents were reported this year, a jump of nearly 20 wrecks from 2012. Non-injury accidents were down from 50 in 2012 to 33.

The patrol made a total of 56 felony drug arrests, up from 34 in 2012.

Law officials also seized more cash this year at $13,221 overall, which is up from $9,368 in 2012. Vehicles seized for drug possession were up by two; from seven vehicles last year to nine in 2013.

A total of 1,535 citations were issued, and the highway patrol handed out 4,932 warnings during the rally.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol reported the following injury accidents as of 6 a.m. Sunday:

A 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Martin Tobias, 49, of Seattle, Wash., was northbound on Highway 87, 14 miles east of Custer. Jason Andrew, 40, of Valparaiso Ind., driving a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle was southbound on Highway 87. Both drivers were too close to the centerline and collided.

Neither driver was wearing a helmet. Andrew was taken to Custer Regional Hospital by ambulance with serious non-life threatening injuries; Tobias was not injured. Speed and alcohol were not factors, and there were no charges. Assisting at the scene were the Custer State Park Rangers and the Custer Volunteer Fire Department.

A 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Josee Mouriau, 50, of Saint-Francois, France, was northbound on Highway 87 in Custer State Park. She failed to negotiate a left hand curve down a steep grade and the motorcycle ran off the roadway to the right. It overturned into the ditch.

Mouriau was thrown from the motorcycle. She was taken to Custer Regional Hospital by ambulance with serious non-life threatening injuries. Speed and alcohol were not factors, and there were no charges. Assisting at the scene were the Custer State Park Rangers and the Custer Volunteer Fire Department.

A 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Leslie Eder, 54, from New Carlisle, Ohio, was traveling westbound on I-90 near Vivian. He lost control of his motorcycle on the wet pavement and entered the median where it then overturned.

Eder suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre by ambulance; he was wearing a helmet, and no charges were filed. Lyman County Sheriff’s Office and Presho Fire Department assisted.

Jacob Hoopes, 39, from Casper, Wyo., driving a 2009 Big Bear motorcycle, left the Guest Ranch in Nemo. He had a passenger, Priscilla Laughlin, 28, also from Casper.

Hoopes drove through a pot hole in the gravel road, gunned the accelerator, and as a result, the rear tire spun in the gravel. Laughlin fell off the back of the motorcycle and sustained serious non-life threatening injuries. She was transported by ambulance to Lead-Deadwood Regional Hospital. Hoopes was arrested for DUI.

A 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle, driven by Stacy Cobb, 50, from Aurora, Neb., was traveling southbound on Highway 87 mile marker 66; the Needles Highway. He came into a sharp curve and was unable to maintain control.

The motorcycle was laid down and went into the ditch. Cobb and his passenger, Sondra Moellen-Berndt, 48, also from Aurora, were thrown off the motorcycle. Both were wearing helmets and sustained only minor injuries. Custer County Sheriff’s Office and Custer State Park Rangers assisted.

An eastbound 2012 Ford F150 driven by John Potts, 36, from Hubert, N.C., stopped at the red light at the intersection of S.D. Highway 34 and Glencoe Road. Also eastbound was a 1999 Ford F250, driven by Steven Remington, 18, from Black Hawk.

Remington’s pickup struck the rear of Potts vehicle. Remington stated he was distracted and did not notice that traffic stopped ahead of him. Remington was cited for careless driving. Two passengers in Potts' vehicle, Bradford Woodson, 29, from Williston, N.D., and Don Collett, 62, from Brigham City, Utah, were treated on scene by Sturgis EMS for minor injuries, and they refused transport.

Other charges as of Sunday:

A Billings, Mont., woman driving a Dodge was stopped in Jones County on I-90 for a moving violation. Upon contact with the driver, there was an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The driver was found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana. A male passenger from Acton, Mont. was found to have a felony warrant from Montana on a theft charge. Both subjects were arrested and charged accordingly.

A Sturgis woman driving a suburban was stopped in Sturgis for an equipment violation. Upon contact, numerous indicators of methamphetamine use were observed. A search of the vehicle and the passenger revealed 20 Lucenta pills with no prescription and drug paraphernalia. The driver and passenger were arrested and charged accordingly.

An eastbound sport motorcycle driven by a Colorado man carrying a female passenger from Massachusetts, turned around in the median north of Deadwood in front a trooper.

The sport bike accelerated at a high speed onto the off ramp. The trooper attempted to catch the sport bike but the Colorado man accelerated again. The pursuit reached speeds of 140 mph.

Another trooper ahead of the bike activated his emergency lights and the motorcycle slowed and then stopped. The driver was taken into custody on several charges. The passenger was released.

Item | Sturgis | Rapid City | Total | Last Year to Date

DUI Arrests: 219, 36, 255, 251

Misd Drug Arrests: 159, 60, 219, 185

Felony Drug Arrests: 35, 21, 56, 34

Other Felony Arrests: 5, 1, 6, 2

Total Citations: 971, 564, 1,535, 1,189

Total Warnings: 3,490, 1,442, 4,932, 4,196

Cash Seized: $1,321, $11,900, $13,221, $9,368

Concealed Weap. Arrests: 2, 1, 3, 0

Vehicles Seized: 9, 0, 9, 7

For Drug Poss.: 9, 0, 8, 7

Non-Injury Accidents: 10, 23, 33, 50

Injury Accidents: 33, 36, 69, 50

Fatal Accidents: 2, 4, 6, 8

Fatalities: 2, 4, 6, 9

Contact John Lee McLaughlin at 394-8421 or

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