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Watch now: More than 460,000 attended Sturgis motorcycle rally

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With the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally fully in the books, law enforcement and the Department of Transportation are releasing their final numbers.

The Department of Transportation released the 10-day total for the rally with 462,182 people entering, 7.5% down from last year’s rally.

Sturgis saw a 1.1% increase in people entering Aug. 9, but was down the rest of the week, particularly Aug. 12 and 15, the Wednesday and Saturday of rally week.

The Department of Public Safety released its crime numbers, increasing in misdemeanor drug arrests, non-injury accidents, injury accidents, fatal accidents and fatalities.

Five people died from vehicle wrecks throughout the rally, up three from last year.

Two men died in an Aug. 10 wreck, William Cooper, 22, of College Station, Texas, and Ronald Ratzel, 55, of Ceres, New York.

Thomas Parins, 56, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, died from injuries from an Aug. 10 motorcycle crash on United States Highway 16A in Custer State Park.

The identities of the others who died have not yet been released, but include a 64-year-old man who died Friday evening on Sturgis Road in Piedmont and a 55-year-old woman who died of injuries in a one-vehicle crash Wednesday seven miles east of Hill City.

State Highway patrol had 241 misdemeanor drug arrests compared to 213 last year.

The Sturgis Police Department and Meade County Sheriff’s Office also saw an uptick of misdemeanor drug arrests, as well as felony drugs and non-injury accidents.

The police department saw 115 misdemeanor drug arrests, which are typically marijuana related, compared to 56 last year.

“It’s becoming more prevalent of the violations,” Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater said at the Friday press conference. “We end up stopping people for crimes and we’re finding misdemeanor drugs as well as felony drugs. I don’t want to say it’s a common occurrence, but you’re seeing more and more violations.”

Both VanDewater and Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin said there’s not really a reason or trend related to the increase in misdemeanor drugs, it just seems to be more prevalent.

The Sturgis Police department also reported 37 felony drug arrests, up seven over last year, and 10 more DWIs.  The data also shows there were 187 jailed from department arrests over 154 last year. However, the total non-traffic and traffic arrests, and parking citations was 558, just four over last year’s total.

The Meade County Sheriff’s Office reported 23 DUIs over 16 last year, 19 misdemeanor drug arrests and 10 felony drug arrests.

A total of 396 people were booked into the county jail, an increase of 48 over last year. Of those, 143 came from state Highway Patrol, 60 from the Sheriff’s Office, four from the Summerset Police Department and six from Butte County/Belle Fourche Police Department.


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