River Road crash kills Tacoma motorcyclist, injures pair in van
A motorcyclist died about 4 p.m. Wednesday in a collision with a minivan in the 2600 block of River Road, according to Washington State Patrol trooper Guy Gill.
Witnesses said the cyclist, identified as 31-year-old Eric Markle of Tacoma, was driving east on River Road at 100 miles per hour – twice the speed limit – and doing a wheelie at the time of the crash.
The van, a 1995 Ford Windstar, was heading west before driver Joshua Richards, 24, of Fife made a left turn into a fireworks stand parking lot, and Markle struck the right front passenger door, Gill said.
Markle, who was wearing helmet, died at the scene, and his 2009 Yamaha YZF-R6 broke in half.
Richards and front-seat passenger Sherilyn Taylor, 25, of Bothell, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The two children in the car were not hurt.
“The preliminary investigation indicates there could be shared fault by the minivan and the motorcyclist,” Gill said.
Richards did turn into Markle’s path, he said, but the cycle’s speed was a factor, too.
“Maybe the driver did not even realize there was a motorcycle there,” Gill said. “If it was doing a wheelie, the driver might not have been able to see the lights. It’s difficult, almost impossible, to judge speeds like that.”