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Sturgis Rally Suffers Third Fatality

The South Dakota Highway Patrol says the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally suffered its third fatality Thursday.

The victim was a 55-year-old woman who died the hospital of injuries suffered Wednesday night when the motorcycle she was on hit a calf in the driving lane of Hwy 16 about 7 miles east of Hill City.

The Patrol says the motorcycle flipped over when it hit the calf and both the woman and the 55-year old male driver were thrown off. Both were taken to a Rapid City hospital with the Patrol describing her injuries as life-threatening and his as serious but non-life threatening.

Neither of them was wearing a helmet and neither name has been released.

The Highway Patrol has also released the names of the Rally’s first 2 fatalities. 22-year old William Cooper of College Station, Texas, and 55-year old Ronald Ratzel of Ceres, NY, died Monday about 5:15 in a 3 motorcycle collision on Hwy 14A roughly 3 miles west of Sturgis.

The accident occurred when Cooper failed to negotiate a curve and went into the oncoming lane where he hit the bikes ridden by Ratzel and 60-year old Steven Peterson of Cuba, NY. Ratzel died at the scene and Cooper at a Rapid City hospital after being airlifted.

Peterson was hospitalized with serious non-life threatening injuries. None of the 3 men was wearing a helmet, which is not required in South Dakota.