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State Patrol determines alcohol was a factor in motorcycle crash that killed two residents

A crash reconstruction report reveals alcohol was a factor in the motorcycle crash that killed two people on May 17.

Howard Ogaard, 59, and Beverly Palmer, 56, died when the motorcycle “trike” they were riding crashed near the intersection of Fairgrounds Road and Fifth Avenue West in Alexandria, near the southeast corner of the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

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Ogaard was driving the motorcycle at the time of the crash, Palmer was the passenger and neither was wearing a helmet, law enforcement reported.

According to a Minnesota State Patrol Crash Reconstruction Report:

● Road and weather conditions were not a factor.

● Visibility may have been a factor in circumstances surrounding the crash. Local law enforcement and a witness reported dust from the nearby race track had drifted toward the area of the crash and was present at or immediately surrounding the time of the crash. However, authorities believe it did not contribute to the accident, based upon Minnesota Statute 169.14 Subdivision 1, which indicates it is the responsibility of drivers to become and remain aware of conditions.

● Speed may have been a factor in Ogaard not being able to safely navigate the curve in the roadway. The investigator reported that Ogaard was travelling a minimum of between 18 to 22 miles per hour. The posted speed at that location is 30 miles per hour.

“Based upon the totality of the evidence, I believe this range of speeds is low and that the actual speed was higher. One of the witnesses to driving conduct of Ogaard just prior to the crash… [reported] that the vehicle was traveling too fast to safely navigate the curve,” the investigator wrote.

● Alcohol was a factor. Ogaard’s alcohol concentration was over the legal limit of 0.08 and inhibited his ability to safely operate a vehicle, and, likely compounded any speed or visibility issues that may have been involved.

“In conclusion, alcohol was a factor in and of itself, and it likely enhanced any issue of speed that may have been involved and also likely inhibited Ogaard’s ability to properly perceive and react in a timely fashion to any visibility issue there may have been,” the trooper reported.

“It is also established knowledge that overall, alcohol dulls the senses that one needs to safely operate a motor vehicle. This includes perception and reaction time, which was/is critical in safely navigating this curve,” he noted.