Motorcycle crash kills two

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Albuquerque, N.M.USA (May 28, 2019) BSB — New Mexico State Police say two people are dead and four others are in critical condition after a head-on crash involving two motorcycles near Red River Saturday.

Hundreds of bikers were headed to the 37th annual Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally.

"Motorcyclists are about riding, chasing the wind, riding free," said Raymond Gallegos, president of the New Mexico Motorcyclist Rights Organization. "It's a weekend to recognize those that have fallen for us. It really is a rally it's about the brotherhood and sisterhood of riding motorcycles."

Gallegos has a passion for keeping bikers safe and alive. "This is Memorial Day weekend, we've lost some dear friends in the past, when there's a ride," Gallegos said. "We are very attentive to what's going on especially safety and alerting the public that there is going to be more riders on the road."

"We saw four ambulances pass us and immediately we had that feeling that something was wrong," said Annette Torrez, who was one of the hundreds of riders gathered at Red River.

She got a text on her phone: "6 motorcycles down, two fatal, three critically injured."

New Mexico State Police say the motorcycle crash happened on Highway 38.

"It was someone that I knew," she said. "It was someone in our community that lived close to my parents and you just you know, your heart breaks."

Police say two people on a Harley Davidson were killed.

The driver of the motorcycle was 58-year-old Lawrence Robert "Tiny" Cortez. His family said he loved to ride, was very giving and was always there for his friends.

His passenger was identified as 43-year-old Jennifer Lynn Ashley. "Hold your memories closely and tell your family you love them," Torrez said.

Police say Cortez crossed the center line into traffic and collided head-on with another Harley Davidson. "We would like to express our sincere condolences to the families of those that lost their life," said Jessica Cisneros with the Red River Visitor's Center.

"We have a slogan this year 'If you live to ride, you need to ride to live,'" Gallegos said.

He has some reminders for all drivers: make sure to do safety checks on bikes or cars, check braking distance and check blind spots. "I want everyone to make it home safe," he said. "We hav

United Bikers of Maine Parade Cancelled

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Augusta, Maine, USA (April 27, 2019) BSB — The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report April 3 on a fatal 2017 crash during the Toy Run parade, a charity ride organized by the United Bikers of Maine.

The event has taken place for roughly 40 years with as many as 3,000 motorcyclists gathering and joining with the cost of admission being a toy that’s then donated to a child in need. But the Sept. 10, 2017 tragedy has caused UBM to pause and reassess the event for the second year in a row.

In 2018, the group changed the route of the ride to exclude the stretch of Interstate 95 north in Augusta where the crash happened. In 2019, after the release of the report, UBM announced it would cancel the parade indefinitely.

“If it’s too big to manage, then we need to take a look at it,” said Sandy Lyle, the public relations director for UBM.

The 15 page NTSB report outlines that the one of the motorcyclists, 25-year-old Aaron White-Sevigny of Windsor suddenly crossed from the right to the left lane of the highway and smashed into a pickup truck driven by William Nusom. The truck then spun across the highway, killing another motorcyclist, 58-year-old Jamie Gross, and injuring six other people.

UBM and the Augusta Police Department are cited by the NTSB in its report for not mitigating safety risks like having a state trooper present for the parade.

In past years, a state trooper had been present to manage the highway portion of the ride where Augusta Police have no jurisdiction, but in 2017, there wasn’t one.

“If a state trooper had been there or wouldn’t have been there, that’s Monday morning quarterbacking,” said Lyle. “Safety is paramount.” This year, UBM says it is proceeding with an abundance of caution and will only collect toys at the Augusta Civic Center.

The group’s president, Dave Hasey, says bikers can come and go on their own as they please, but there will be no formal group ride. “The safest move for motorcyclists all the way around was not to have the parade,” said Hasey. “It was a very hard decision.”

The bikers say there is a small chance that a better safety plan could bring back the parade in years to come.

Augusta Police Chief Jared Mills released a written statement earlier this week on the NTSB report saying the department “has the utmost respect for NTSB” and “their best practices will be applied” to city procedure going forward.


Indian Motorcycle Factory Catches Fire

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Spirit Lake, Iowa, USA (April 12, 2019) BSB — Spirit Lake Fire Chief Patrick Daly said crews responding to a Wednesday morning fire at the Polaris Indian Motorcycle factory were immediately confronted with heavy smoke, but the actual fire was relatively minimal.

Firefighters were paged at around 10:15 a.m. the chief said, and entered the building soon after arriving.

"At that time, we called in Arnolds Park/Okoboji, because we knew we needed more manpower and more (self contained breathing apparatuses) to get into the smoke," Daly said. "The building's so big, and you only have so much air. They came up to help us, and we finally got to the source of the fire."

He said crews typically send firefighters in to situations in pairs, with another pair waiting outside in case something should go wrong. Wednesday's operation was large enough that Daly called the AP/O Fire Department for mutual aid and additional manpower. The fire chief said the flames were largely contained to the paint booth area of the motorcycle manufacturer's plant.

The paint booth was being removed and the process sparked the fire as work was being done on the chimney section.

"This morning, a minor fire occurred in a vacant section of our Spirit Lake facility," Polaris spokesperson Jess Rogers said, thanking the Spirit Lake Fire Department for its fast response. "The facility was evacuated. There are no injuries to report, and the facility will resume normal operations tomorrow."

Spirit Lake firefighters responded to a fire at the Polaris manufacturing plant in Spirit Lake Wednesday afternoon. The crews called for mutual aid from Arnolds Park-Okoboji Fire and Rescue, due to heavy smoke and the size of the facility. Photos by Seth Boyes

Daly went on to say the fire spread into the styrofoam insulation in the facility's roof, and firefighters ultimately cut a hole in the roof to stop the damage from spreading.

"Once we got the styrofoam out, we could start venting the building," Daly said. "Actually, we had a really good breeze coming through there, so it was natural ventilation. Once we got in there, we could get right to the machine."

The paint booth's own fire suppression systems were triggered, according to Daly, but couldn't stop all of the flames.

"They had sprinkler system in there, but it didn't get up through the styrofoam where we were at," he said. "It put the fire out that was down below. It just made so much smoke you couldn't see anything."

DA dismisses remaining 24 Twin Peaks biker cases

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Waco, Texas. USA (April 2, 2019) BSB — Almost four years after nine bikers were killed and 20 were injured during a shootout at the former Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said Tuesday he will dismiss all criminal cases against the remaining 24 defendants charged in the midday brawl.

Johnson inherited the Twin Peaks cases when he took office in January, and said he has spent 75 percent of his time since then with a team of prosecutors and investigators trying to determine how to resolve the remaining cases.

Johnson's decision Tuesday means that no one will be held accountable for the multiple deaths or injuries or for the chaotic battle between heavily armed, rival motorcycle clubs waged in a crowded shopping center parking lot while families were on their way to lunch after Sunday church.

In announcing his decision, Johnson said it is time to "end this nightmare that we have been dealing with in this county since May 17, 2015."

"There were nine people who were killed on that fateful day in Waco, Texas, and 20 injured, all of whom were members of rival motorcycle clubs, and the loss of life is a difficult thing,"Johnson said. "But after looking over the 24 cases we were left with, it is my opinion as your district attorney that we are not able to prosecute any of those cases and reach our burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

About 200 bikers were arrested after the shootout on identical charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and held on $1 million bonds each. Former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna sought indictments against 155 bikers on those identical charges and chose to try Jacob Carrizal, the Bandidos Dallas county chapter president, first.

Carrizal's case ended in mistrial in November 2017, with most of the jurors in his case favoring acquittal, and no other defendant has been tried since.

The way Reyna handled the Twin Peaks cases was the centerpiece of Johnson's campaign, and he defeated Reyna in the March 2018 Republican primary by 20 percentage points. After the primary, Reyna dismissed all but 24 of the remaining Twin Peaks cases. The special prosecutors appointed to handle four of the cases after Reyna recused his office also were critical of the manner in which the cases were handled and dismissed them, also.

Reyna sought to re-indict the remaining two dozen, mostly on riot charges. Other charges that may have been possible arising out of the melee, such as attempted murder, aggravated assault or felon in possession of a firearm, were barred by three-year statutes of limitation before Johnson took office, he said.

"Following the indictments, the prior district attorney had the time and opportunity to review and assess the admissib

Biker sucker punched at stop light

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Indianapolis, IN. USA (March 29, 2019) BSB – James Yacconi, a veteran of four tours of duty in Iraq, is struggling with injuries after a confrontation with another motorist. It happened on South Madison Avenue, where a moment of driver courtesy was followed by brutal road rage, all captured by a Lyft driver’s dash camera “He’s currently on a ventilator and a feeding tube,” said Yacconi’s wife. “Because they haven’t quite wired his mouth shut.“

It happened Wednesday evening, not far from Manual High School. “Great sunny day so I decide to go for a quick, small ride,” Yaconni later recalled in a Facebook post. From his motorcycle,Yacconi noticed a problem with a Lyft driver’s car and helpfully let him know. “You got a break light out on that side,” Yaconni told the driver. “Thank you. Alright," the driver responded.

Yacconi recounts: "The guy behind me was laying into his horn, came close to rear-ending and sideswiping me as he goes around and gets in front of me.“ Then, at the next red light at Madison and Pleasant Run, “I’m still behind him and I asked what his problem is. He stormed out of his car. I get off my bike I ask him what his deal was.

All I was doing was helping another guy out by telling him he had a taillight out. Next thing I know, I get double-punched by him wearing two brass knuckles. Yaconni, a U.S. Army veteran, was left with serious jaw injuries. He's in "a lot of pain" according to family. Yaconni followed the Lyft driver to get his dash cam evidence.

He later posted that the Lyft driver said he “does not know how I am still conscious.” He decribed the road rage vehicle as “junky,” a white car missing the rear bumper. Yaconni is still hospitalized, a long road ahead in healing the broken jaw. Family and friends want justice for the victim. If you have information about the incident, you're asked to call IMPD or Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.



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