The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally suffered its fourth and fifth traffic deaths on Friday, one in a Friday collision and the other from injuries suffered in Monday crash. That’s 3 more than at the same point in last year’s Rally.
56-year-old Thomas Parins of Green Bay, WI, had been hospitalized since his motorcycle failed to negotiate a curve on Hwy 16A in Custer State Park on Monday. The bike went into the south ditch and Parins, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from the motorcycle.
A 64-year manm whose name has not been released, died about 6:45 Friday night on Sturgis Road inside the Piedmont city limits when his northbound motorcycle was hit by a southbound SUV that had crossed the center line. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
47-year old John Gonzalez of Summerset, driver of the SUV, received only minor injuries but charges are pending against him.
Accidents are up up nearly 20% from a year ago, even though attendance is down about 10% through Thursday. There have been 43 non-injury accidents, an increase of 7, and 55 accidents, 8 more than last year.
The number of drug arrests at this year’s Rally also continues to run ahead of last year. As of 6:00 Saturday morning, the South Dakota Highway Patrol had made 220 arrests for misdemeanors, a jump of 28, and 119 for felonies, an increase of 9.
On the other hand, the Patrol has made only 133 DUI arrests, 24 fewer than last year, the total number of citations issued is down by 9, and warnings have dropped by nearly 500 from 3,655 to 3,169.
Attendance for the final 3 days and the entire Rally won’t be released until Monday, but the total through Thursday was more than 319,000. The official prediction heading into the Rally was 250,000.