One motorcyclist was killed and another seriously injured over the weekend in a series of collisions on Gila County highways.
Both men were riding with a pack of around 1,200 riders from the Mesa Fire Department who were making a “poker run,” which is a fund-raising event for the department, from Mesa through Globe and back to Mesa on several state highways, said DPS Officer Jimmy Oestmann.
The fatal accident happened around 1 p.m., Friday, April 3 on Highway 188 near milepost 257.
Witnesses told officers that a 62-year-old man riding with the group westbound on Highway 188 was passing on the right when his motorcycle went into the dirt, he lost control and his body collided with a two-post road sign, Oestmann said.
Oestmann did not have the name of the man.
While investigating the fatality, officers got a call that another motorcyclists had crashed into a guardrail.
Around 3.30 p.m. another pack of motorcyclists were heading south on Highway 87 near milepost 231 when a driver attempted to pass a tractor trailer.
“With the heavy winds, as they were coming around the truck, a gust of wind hit and he lost control,” Oestmann said.
“He crossed the shoulder and hit the guardrail.”
The man’s left hand struck the guardrail post and he was dragged down the guardrail while still on the motorcycle.
The man sustained serious injuries to his hand and leg and was airlifted to a Scottsdale hospital, Oestmann said.
Oestmann said Payson DPS did not receive any notice from organizers about the event.
“It caught us off guard because we did not have prior notice of it,” he said.
The DPS office in Globe called Oestmann about the riders only hours before the wrecks occurred.