Sturgis Rally Ends With 4 Official Traffic Deaths; Arrests Down, Citations And Warnings Up From Last Year


     The 81st Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is over with the closing weekend marred by a pair of traffic deaths on Saturday, bringing the official count to 4 – one fewer than last year.

      One occurred a little bit before 9:00 Saturday morning when a 66-year-old man lost control of his motorcycle in Sturgis, hit a curb, and fell off. He was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

      The other death was a 46-year old woman who was the passenger on a motorcycle that failed to negotiate a curve, ran off Hwy 14A about 2 miles east of Sturgis around 12:30 PM, and overturned.

      The woman and the 51-year old male driver were thrown from the bike. Neither was wearing a helmet. She was pronounced dead at the scene while he was taken to the Sturgis hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. Charges are pending 

       All together, the South Dakota Highway Patrol reported 110 accidents this year, 6 fewer than a year ago. There were 50 non-injury accidents, down 10 from last year, and 60 injury accidents, 4 more than last year.

       The Patrol made fewer arrests this year. There were 122 DUI arrests, a drop of 13, 151 misdemeanor drug arrests or 90 fewer than last year, and 112 felony drug arrests, down 14.

       Total citations and warning were both up sharply, Citations jumped by by 213 to 1,572 while the number of warnings went up from 3,576 to 4,319,

      The Patrol’s Rally Tally does not include figures from the opening and closing days. When the Rally expanded from 8 to 10 days several years ago, the Patrol chose to continue the old 8-day period to match past records. 

       As a result, two motorcycle deaths on opening day this year are not reflected in the official count of 4 fatalities.

       The South Dakota Dept of Transportation hasn’t released traffic counts since Friday morning for vehicles entering Sturgis. The total at that time was 423,273 for the first 7 days of the Rally.

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