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Three motorcycle crashes in area over the weekend

There were three motorcycle crashes in the area over the weekend, and Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander is asking people to be careful on the road.

"We ask that people follow the traffic laws when they are riding, watch their speed and wear a helmet," he said.

• On Sunday evening at approximately 9:35 p.m., the Becker County Sheriff's Office received a report of a motorcycle crash with one person injured: Jeremy Lee Harstad, 39, of Detroit Lakes, was traveling east on County Road 144, just west of Highway 59, when he lost control of the motorcycle he was operating.

Harstad was transported to Essentia St. Mary's Hospital and then transferred to a Fargo hospital with serious injuries. The crash remains under investigation. The sheriff's office was assisted by the State Patrol, St. Mary's EMS, and LifeLink III air ambulance.

• A Grand Forks man was injured Saturday afternoon when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed on a curve on Highway 113 near Doctor Wallace Road, in Forest Township in Becker County.

Luis Brito, 57, of Grand Forks suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Essentia St. Mary's Hospital in Detroit Lakes. He was not wearing a helmet and alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to the State Patrol.

He was driving a 2017 Harley Davidson motorcycle, westbound on Highway 113, and lost control as he entered a curve, then went into the ditch near the midpoint of the curve. The crash was reported at 3:46 p.m. on dry pavement. Deputies from Mahnomen and Becker County and Naytahwaush EMS staff responded to the scene.

• At 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Becker County Sheriff's Office received a report of a motorcycle crash on County Road 6 in Cormorant Township.

Justin Christopher Ranum, 37, of Moorhead, was traveling east on County Road 6 near Viking Bay Road on a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle, when it left the road and skidded into the north ditch.

Ranum was transported to Essentia St. Mary's Hospital in Detroit Lakes, with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. He was not wearing a helmet and alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to the State Patrol.

The sheriff's office was assisted by the State Patrol, the Lake Park Fire Department, Lake Park ALERT and St. Mary's EMS.

"It was a very busy weekend for law enforcement around the state and the area as far as crashes," said Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol.

While preliminary crash numbers are down from the last few years, Grabow urged motorists to drive sober, buckle up or wear a helmet, and always pay attention to the road. "We are in the 100 deadly days of the year, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and we continue stressing the importance of safe driving," he said.

Grabow said that preliminary numbers show that motorcycle crashes are down this year compared to the past two years. Minnesota Department of Public Safety data show there were 191 crashes involving motorcycles from Jan. 1 to May 31 this year.

Last year there were 267 crashes during the same time period, and in 2016 it was worse yet, with 271 crashes through May 31.

Nine of the crashes through the end of May resulted in a death, which is also down from 2017 (10) and 2016 (11) during the same period.

There have been 55 serious injuries caused by motorcycle crashes through May 31 — down from 72 in 2017 and 74 in 2016.

But for some reason, a higher percentage of those crashes have been deadly this year, with a person dying in 5.7 percent of crashes compared to 3.7 percent in 2017 and 4 percent in 2016.

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