YORKVILLE — An Illinois woman was killed and a Mount Pleasant man was gravely injured following separate motorcycle crashes this weekend in Racine and Kenosha counties.
James E. Malnar II, 25, of Mount Pleasant was reported to be on life support after a crash reported at 9:25 p.m. Sunday in the 17200 block of Durand Avenue (Highway 11), Yorkville, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Initial reports stated that a motorcycle left the roadway, and the driver was thrown from the motorcycle into a field. Witnesses found the driver and reported that he was not conscious and bleeding severely.
The driver was taken via Flight For Life to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he was treated for life-threatening injuries. Froedtert said that the man’s injuries are non-survivable. He remains on life support per the wishes of his family.
The Sheriff’s Office said alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, and the operator was also not wearing a helmet.
Another motorcycle rider, a 26-year-old man from Mount Pleasant, witnessed the accident. Through the course of the investigation, deputies arrested the witness for operating while impaired, first offense.
This investigation was ongoing as of Monday.
Fatal Kenosha County crash
An Illinois woman is dead and several others were injured in a crash early Saturday night involving several motorcycles traveling in a group in Kenosha County.
At 6:32 p.m. Saturday, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Town of Randall Fire Department responded to a serious vehicle crash in the 12400 block of Highway W.
Investigation into this crash revealed that a group of Illinois motorcyclists were traveling south along Highway W when the lead operator of a 2006 Harley-Davidson failed to negotiate a curve in the road and lost control of his motorcycle, according to a Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department news release issued Monday.
The motorcycle slid into another motorcycle, a 2010 Harley-Davidson, which had a driver and a passenger. This created a domino effect and another motorcycle, a 1998 Kawasaki, also crashed.
The passenger from the 2010 Harley-Davidson suffered serious injuries. A Flight For Life helicopter was contacted and landed in a nearby parking lot, but the passenger, identified as 47-year-old Lisa Fagan from Illinois, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
There were five other injuries reported in the crash, ranging from minor to significant. The roadway was closed for a time as authorities investigated the scene.
As of Monday, authorities believed that speed contributed to the crash.
As temperatures rise, and with more than 535,000 Wisconsin residents holding a motorcycle license or permit, more motorcycles are making their way onto Wisconsin roadways.
May is designated as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and traffic safety officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation are asking motorcyclists and motorists in cars and trucks to share the road, be alert and safe.
“Because of their smaller profile, it’s easy to misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle,” said David Pabst, director of the DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “That’s why we ask car and truck drivers to look twice for motorcycles before pulling out from a stop sign, turning left at an intersection or changing lanes.”
The DOT reports that as a group, the motorcycle community is aging. The average age of a motorcyclist involved in a fatal crash increased from 30 years old in 1992 to 44 in 2017.
“Education courses are designed for beginners, as well as other classes aimed at experienced riders,” Pabst said. “One trend we see is middle-aged people who drove a motorcycle many years ago, then resume riding on a cycle that’s larger and more powerful. A safety refresher course would be a wise investment, and what you learn could save your life.”
The DOT is offering several safety tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on the road:
- Wear all the gear, all the time, including visible and protective equipment.
- Pay attention to the road ahead — gravel or other debris on roadways present special challenges for motorcyclists.
- Get properly licensed.