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Flood Run crashes injure 2 in Wisconsin; Sheriff’s office estimates attendance at 35,000 riders

Motorcycles lined Prescott's Broad Street at about 9:15 a.m. Saturday, April 16 during the 51st annual Spring Flood Run. It was estimated that 35,000 bikers took part in this year's two-state event. (Herald photo by Sarah Young)

Roadside encounters with a bee and a turkey left two motorcyclists hospitalized Saturday during a heavily attended Spring Flood Run.

Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies responded at 10:17 a.m. to a two-vehicle crash on Highway 35 just south of County Road K in Trenton. Bryan D. Huffman, 50, of Lake City, had been heading northbound on his 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle when a turkey flew out of the ditch and struck his head.

Huffman collided with a 2015 Subaru Outback heading south on Highway 35, driven by 74-year-old Gary T. Egbert of Apple Valley, Minn.

Huffman was transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing by Red Wing Ambulance, which was assisted at the scene by Ellsworth Fire, Hager City First Responders and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

Later that day at 12:14 p.m., deputies responded to a one-vehicle motorcycle crash on Highway 35 about one-tenth of a mile east of 135th Avenue near Bay City.

Terry Anderson, 52, Brainerd, Minn., was southbound on Highway 35 when he was stung by a bee. He had a reaction to the sting, laid his motorcycle down and entered the south ditch. He was transported to Red Wing Mayo Hospital by Red Wing Ambulance.

Ellsworth Fire and Red Wing EMS assisted at the scene.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jason Matthys said this year’s event drew the largest numbers he’s seen in his 16 years with the agency. Estimates put the number of motorcycles at 35,000, he said.

“The weather and road conditions certainly played a role in the increased activity,” Matthys said.

Pierce County deputies conducted 17 traffic stops during the event and issued 10 tickets, though Matthys said the majority of officers’ time was spent directing traffic at intersections along the route.

Other crashes

A fatality on the Minnesota side of the two-state Flood Run event accounted for the only death of the annual ride, during which thousands of motorcyclists ride from the Twin Cities area to Winona in honor of a trip 12 bikers made in 1965 to help place sandbags during a major flood in Winona.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, 62-year-old Randall Beers of Onalaska, Wis., died after his bike apparently collided with a car waiting to turn onto Highway 61 at Highway 42 near Kellogg, Minn. A 37-year-old passenger on the motorcycle from Bangor, Wis., was in fair condition at a Rochester hospital, and two people in the other vehicle escaped injury.

Motorcycle wrecks on Pierce County roads included a Friday, April 15, crash at 8:43 p.m. involving two Minnesota riders. That crash occurred at Highway 35 at County Road VV in the town of Trenton, where driver Paul L. Palacio, 54, West St. Paul, was injured, along with passenger Andrea M. Schuch, 38, of South St. Paul.

According to the sheriff’s office, Palacio failed to negotiate a curve in the road and entered a ditch. Both he and Schuch were transported to a hospital with undisclosed injuries.

Red Wing EMS, Red Wing police, North Air, Ellsworth EMS and Ellsworth firefighters assisted Pierce County deputies at that scene.