STURGIS | The Meade County Coroner is investigating the unattended death of a Nebraska man, who died in his motor home at the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said carbon monoxide poisoning was the apparent cause of death of the man, whose name has not been released.
Otherwise, officials say the 2019 rally is shaping up as a relatively quiet one at the midway point.
One indicator of a smaller, more manageable rally crowd, ironically, is an increase in the population at the Meade County Jail, said Merwin.
Jail numbers at this point in the rally are about 60 more incarcerated than at this time last year.
"Jail population being higher usually means a lighter traffic year, because law enforcement can get out and work traffic better,” Merwin said.
“The traffic isn’t as thick, so we can get in and be a little more proactive on our traffic stops and violations,” Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater said.
The South Dakota Highway Patrol continues to see felony drug violations trending higher, with 73 arrests in the Sturgis and Rapid City area recorded from 6 a.m. Saturday morning through 6 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The total for the same period last year was 38.
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Misdemeanor drug arrests are also higher, with 128 through the same period, compared to 104 for the same time frame in 2018.
No traffic fatalities were reported on Tuesday, leaving the highway death toll at one for the rally.
The Highway Patrol investigated seven injury accidents on Tuesday, with a total of 14 injuries.
However, two separate crashes left two motorcyclists with life threatening injuries according to the Highway Patrol.
A 59-year-old man was critically injured at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday when the motorcycle he was driving westbound on Highway 14A six miles west of Lead crossed the centerline and collided with an eastbound motorcycle. The two riders on the eastbound cycle suffered only minor injuries.
Also on Tuesday at 3 p.m., a 51-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries when his motorcycle collided with a car on Highway 85, 6-1/2 miles east of Spearfish.
A 2019 Subaru Forester driven by an 82-year-old man was making a left turn from East Colorado Blvd. onto Highway 85 when the collision occurred.
A 51-year-old female passenger on the motorcycle suffered serious, non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Subaru was not injured.