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Sturgis has its third fatality of the rally as attendance continues to climb

A photo from Main Street in Sturgis on Wednesday, Aug. 8, shows the large crowds. Attendance is up almost 4 percent this year compared to last year. Christina Steele / City of Sturgis

STURGIS, S.D. -- The third fatality of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota was reported Wednesday, Aug. 8, as attendance continues to climb well above last year.

The 63-year-old man died on Tuesday at 11:20 a.m. on Sturgis Road near Piedmont when the motorcyclist failed to negotiate a curve, went off the roadway, hit a pole and rolled.  The man was pronounced dead en route to the hospital. He was not wearing a helmet.

The Department of Public Safety on Wednesday released the names of the other two victims in crashes since the rally started.  In the accident in the Sturgis Canyon south of Cheyenne Crossing on Saturday, the victim was James Barbier of Aurora, Colo. He went off the road and through a fence in the crash. Later Saturday, about 7:40 p.m, the victim in a rollover crash three miles east of Deadwood was Craig Carrell of Sioux City, Iowa. The 53-year-old was driving a UTV side-by-side. His passenger, Stephen Phillips of North Sioux City, S.D., had serious injuries.

Injury accidents in the Sturgis region are down from 41 last year to 33 this year.

Attendance, meanwhile, is continuing to climb with the five-day total for the nine-day event at 281,408 visitors, up 3.8 percent over last year.  On Tuesday, 60,281 people entered the rally an increase of 8.8 percent over last year.

DUI arrests continue to decline, with 73 reported so far this year, compared to 94 last year, while drug arrests are up to 142 from 109 last year.

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