May 30, 2017 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterTwo motorcyclists died over the weekend in separate incidents in Riverton.
Officials said James Caples, 41, of Riverton, died of head trauma after crashing into the back of a sport-utility vehicle just before 9 p.m. Friday in the 2300 block of West Main Street.
Three days later, a 54-year-old Riverton man was found dead in the 6800 block of Riverview Road. Officials believe he died as a result of a motorcycle crash that took place Sunday afternoon or early Sunday evening.
Neither man was wearing a helmet, according to reports.
Riverton Police Department Capt. Todd Byerly said Caples's passenger, a 38-year-old Riverton woman who also was not wearing a helmet, was taken Friday to SageWest Health Care at Riverton to be treated for injuries suffered in the crash.
He was unsure about the extent of her injuries but said they didn't sound life-threatening; other officials who were at the hospital that night said she was in stable condition Friday evening and was expected to recover.
No one in the SUV was hurt, according to reports.
A full analysis of the crash was unavailable Tuesday, but Byerly said Caples had been driving his motorcycle east when he collided with the back of the SUV.
The driver of the SUV had pulled over to watch an ongoing structure fire in the 2200 block of Riverview Road, Byerly said.
"Apparently several people had pulled over to look," he said. "So there were several witnesses who saw the whole thing."
The witnesses said the SUV driver had "swerved over a bit" to observe the fire, but Byerly didn't know exactly where on the roadway the vehicle had stopped.
"I'm not sure if the back end of the SUV was in the road, or if it was off on the shoulder," he said, continuing, "I can't say if the parked vehicle had pulled out and the motorcycle impacted with it, or if it was parked completely on the shoulder and the motorcycle lost control and slid into it."
The wreck slowed traffic to a single lane on West Main near College View Drive. A dozen emergency vehicles responded. and a small crowd gathered as emergency responders attempted to resuscitate Caples at the scene.
Information about vehicle speeds was unavailable Tuesday, but people at the scene Friday said the motorcycle impacted the SUV at a high speed. The speed limit in the area is 45 mph.
Byerly didn't know whether the driver of the SUV would be issued any citations.
Caples will not be autopsied, but his body will undergo a toxicology test, with results available in about a week. Coroner Mark Stratmoen said Caples died at SageWest Health Care at Riverton.
A property owner who was working in a pasture along Riverview Road found the 54-year-old Riverton man dead at about 11:15 a.m. Monday, according to Fremont County undersheriff Ryan Lee.
"The reporting party observed something shiny in the borrow ditch and thought it was discarded fencing material," Lee wrote in a press release Tuesday. "He went to investigate and found the crashed motorcycle and eventually the deceased male nearby."
A preliminary investigation revealed the man was driving west on Riverview Road when he failed to negotiate a sharp corner; Lee said the motorcycle left the roadway and flipped end-over-end, throwing the rider from the machine.
Both the motorcycle and the man came to rest in tall grass and were not "readily observable" by passing motorists, Lee said.
Officials are trying to figure out when the man was last seen alive.
"The investigation remains active as of Tuesday morning," Lee wrote.
Stratmoen would not release the man's name pending family notification, but he said the 54-year-old died of head trauma at the scene. Again, no autopsy will be performed, but results of toxicology tests should be available in about a week.
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