Three Killed in Motorcycle Crashes Before Sturgis Rally

By Beacon Staff

STURGIS, S.D. – At least three people have been killed in separate motorcycle crashes in South Dakota leading up to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol attributed the crashes Friday and Saturday to problems with the motorcycles’ rear tires. The tires went flat, lost air pressure or blew, causing the bikes to wobble and crash.

The first crash, at about 1:30 p.m. Friday on South Dakota Highway 50 east of Ravinia, killed 57-year-old Lynn Dannecker, the patrol said. She was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by 62-year-old Laurence Maye, who was flown to a Sioux Falls hospital with life-threatening injuries, it said. Both were from Greenfield, Wis.

About an hour later on U.S. Highway 14 east of Cottonwood, Diane Thompson, 63, of Boulder, Mont., was killed when the motorcycle she was riding on slid into a ditch, the patrol said. The driver, Michael Anderson, 54, of Helena, Mont., suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The third crash was reported about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The patrol said Robert Lewis Jr., 57, died after crashing his motorcycle on Interstate 90 east of Salem. His passenger, Judith Lewis, 60, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. They were both from Manawa, Wis.

The Sturgis rally begins Monday and runs through next Sunday. As many as 800,000 people are expected to attend the rally’s 70th anniversary.

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