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Motorcyclist killed on SR 16 in Tacoma ticketed 5 minutes before

Washjngton State Patrol officers work the scene where a motorcyclist was killed Thursday afternoon when he collided with a box truck (in background) eastbound on state Route 16 in Tacoma.
Washjngton State Patrol officers work the scene where a motorcyclist was killed Thursday afternoon when he collided with a box truck (in background) eastbound on state Route 16 in Tacoma. dperine@thenewstribune.com

A motorcyclist got a ticket for doing 81 mph in a 60 mph zone Thursday afternoon going eastbound on state Route 16 in Tacoma, Washington State Patrol spokesman Todd Bartolac said.

Fewer than five minutes later, he was dead.

The motorcyclist was killed about 5 p.m. Thursday when he hit a box truck parked in rush-hour traffic on the highway just west of the Union Avenue exit, Bartolac said.

“He already had a history of speeding,” Bartolac said. “Even if he was doing the speed limit and hit the back of a 26,000-pound box truck, there’s no winning.”

The road was blocked eastbound at Union Avenue for nearly two hours as the State Patrol investigated. Eastbound drivers were directed to take the exit there.

Bartolac said the trooper who ticketed the motorcyclist thought he had a productive conversation with him, stressing to be careful and watch his speed. The State Patrol is in the middle of a safety awareness campaign for motorcycle riders.

“It’s tough on the troopers because you look at it, and you just talked with this person five minutes ago, and now they’re dead,” Bartolac said. “We’re not stopping people out of spite. We’re stopping people to change the driving behavior. We’re out there trying to save lives.”

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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