The grand marshal of this year’s Sturgis motorcycle rally is facing another lawsuit stemming from a 2016 incident when he accidentally drove a motorcycle into a rally concert audience.
Roland Sands, a California-based custom motorcycle builder and former road racer, is being sued by Kathleen Hanline-Lewis of Las Vegas. Her lawsuit — which was filed Friday, the first day of this year’s rally — also names the Buffalo Chip Campground and Polaris Industries (doing business as Indian Motorcycle Co.) as defendants.
The lawsuit says Hanline-Lewis was injured Aug. 7, 2016, when Sands accidentally drove an Indian Scout Sixty motorcycle off a stage and into the audience during a break between concerts at the Buffalo Chip Campground.
The motorcycle’s front brakes had apparently been removed for racing. In a bystander’s video posted online after the accident, an announcer could be heard calling Sands onto the stage for a demonstration. The announcer told the audience, “This bike has no front brake.” Then the motorcycle rolled by, with Sands driving it, and plunged off the stage and into the crowd.
The litigation by Hanline-Lewis is at least the second lawsuit stemming from the accident. In 2017, Royce Rath, of Sitka, Alaska, sued Sands, the Buffalo Chip Campground and Polaris/Indian Motorcycles.
The Buffalo Chip Campground and Polaris/Indian Motorcycles were dismissed from the Rath lawsuit in June after Sands filed a sworn statement that said, in part, “The subject motorcycle was modified by someone other than a representative, employee or agent of Polaris,” and, “I have no knowledge or information to believe that Polaris was negligent with its design or manufacture of the subject motorcycle.”
After the dismissals, the Rath lawsuit remains pending with Sands as the sole defendant.
Rath and Hanline-Lewis are each represented by lawyers Brad Lee and Matthew McIntosh of Beardsley, Jensen & Lee in Rapid City.
In the Hanline-Lewis lawsuit, she alleges that the motorcycle driven by Sands landed directly on her and caused serious injuries. Documents filed so far in the lawsuit do not specify the nature of the injuries.
Hanline-Lewis is alleging that the accident was caused by negligence on the part of all the defendants and is seeking an unspecified amount of money.
Sands, meanwhile, is the grand marshal of this year’s rally, a role that included leading the Mayor’s Ride on Monday in Sturgis.