Charges are pending against a Summerset, South Dakota man after he crossed the centerline on Sturgis Road in Piedmont on Friday, hitting a motorcycle head-on, killing the driver, according to a report from Tony Mangan, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.
In a news release Saturday, Mangan said John Gonzales, 47,was driving south in a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox on Sturgis Road about 6:45 p.m., Friday, Aug. 14, in the city limits of Piedmont when he crossed the center line and hit a 1981 Harley Davidson XLH motorcycle driven by a 64-year-old man.
The motorcycle driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gonzales received minor injuries and whether he was wearing a seat belt hadn’t been determined yet. Charges are pending against him.
The Highway Patrol, which is part of the DPS, does special patrolling of the Sturgis Rally each year and reports daily on traffic and crime in Sturgis and the nearby Rapid City District. Sturgis is about 28 miles northwest of Rapid City on Interstate 90.
Summerset is a few miles northwest of Rapid City on I-90 and Piedmont is a few miles north of Summerset and about 18 miles southeast of Sturgis.
Little information about the crash victim was released Saturday.
He is the fifth person to die in a traffic crash in Sturgis and the Patrol’s Rapid City District, during the Sturgis Rally, which opened Aug. 7 and closes Sunday, Aug. 16, according to a report Saturday from Mangan.
In 2019, two people died in traffic crashes by the eighth day of the 10-day Rally.
Mangan said Saturday that the deaths this year include Thomas Parins, 56, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, who died Friday from injuries he sustained Monday in a motorcycle crash.
Parins was driving a 2003 Harley Davidson Heritage east on U.S. Highway 16A in Custer State Park on Aug. 10 when he failed to make a curve , went into the south ditch and was thrown from the bike. He was not wearing a helmet. He died Friday in a Rapid City hospital.
From 6 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 8 to 6 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, there have been 55 injury traffic crashes in Sturgis and the Rapid City District, up from 47 during the same period in 2019, according to Mangan.
During the same period this year, the Highway Patrol made 472 arrests for suspected DUI or drug offenses, compared with 458 in 2019. That includes 133 DUI arrests, which usually are misdemeanors, compared with 157 in 2019; 220 alleged misdemeanor drug offenses, compared with 192 last year and 119 felony drug arrests compared with 109 a year ago.
The number of vehicles entering Sturgis has been running about 7% below the 2019 figures through the first seven days of the event, according to figures from the state Department of Transportation.