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Police alarmed by 6 motorcycle deaths

August 23, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Six people have died in motorcycle accidents in the Tri-State area since July 18 - a figure one state police spokesman described as "alarming.''

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Three of the fatal accidents have occurred in Washington County, while two occurred in neighboring Frederick County and one in Jefferson County, W.Va.

"Increased travel and lack of attention to traffic safety can lead to more crashes during the summer months and especially over a holiday weekend," said Pete Piringer, Maryland State Police public information officer. Speed and inexperience also contribute, he said.

"It goes in spurts," said 1st Sgt. M. S. Hegedus of the Hagerstown barracks.

Safety initiatives such as extra patrols, speed enforcement and publicizing motorcycle safety tips may need to be taken, Piringer said.

Piringer said 75 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve no other vehicles.

The most recent fatality in the Tri-State area involved a 16-year-old Smithsburg High School student who lost control of her bike in Frederick County.

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On the afternoon of Aug. 14, Kristy Lynn Buhrman, of the 24000 block of Raven Rock Road, Sabillasville, Md., ran into a ditch while traveling east on Foxville Deerfield Road at Herman Hauver Road.

She was thrown from the bike and died at Washington County Hospital on Aug.15, police said.

On Aug. 9, William Menso, 50, of Keedysville, died after he drove his motorcycle into a rock wall on Main Street in Keedysville. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Three days earlier, on Aug. 6, Lamar Viands, 21, of Ranson, W. Va., was killed when his motorcycle and a car collided near the entrance to the Jefferson Crossing shopping center along Flowing Springs Road, West Virginia State Police said. Viands hit the car and went over the top of the automobile, police said.

On July 25, a Rockville, Md., man died when he lost control of his 1996 Suzuki Katana on Md. 77 east of Hippan Hill Lane east of Smithsburg.

Police said Kevin Ruchirek, 24, of 801 Leverton Road, was traveling at high speed when he slid off the road and hit a guardrail at 1:18 p.m.

Two fatalities occurred on July 18 in Washington and Frederick counties when the riders both lost control on curves, police said.

Maurice Duray Dickson, 28, of 248 Frederick St., Hagerstown, was riding a Yamaha motorcycle west on Interstate 70 east of Interstate 81 when his motorcycle hit two cars at 2:12 p.m., police said.

His motorcycle crossed the median and sideswiped a 1995 Chevrolet Impala before hitting a 1989 Dodge Ram head-on, police said.

Two hours later, Christopher Lee Dorsey, 20, of Rocky Ridge, Md., died after losing control on a curve while traveling north on Kelbaugh Road in Emmitsburg, Md.

While the cyclist has no control over many accidents, the risk overall can be reduced with proper training and maintenance, according to Mike Twigg, owner of Twigg's Cycles in Hagerstown.

He recommends riders take training courses offered by the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles, wear proper gear and be aware of weather conditions.

"A motorcycle is a very safe form of recreation in the proper hands," he said.

Kevin Pohl of Tri-State Motorcycle Service, Funkstown, has fixed motorcycles and ridden bikes for more than 10 years.

Pohl said motorcycles are a safe means of transportation if treated with respect.

"It's not the motorcycle that's unsafe," he said. "It's the individual on it.

"A lot of people think they can just jump on a bike and go. They have to learn how to handle it."

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