Motorcycle safety highlighted after fatal Dubuque County crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Motorcycle safety highlighted after fatal Dubuque County crash

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Motorcycle season is far from over, and a fatal crash this week in Dubuque County is raising questions about safety on the road.

Frank Dardis is a motorcycle safety course instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College. The most common location for a motorcycle collision, he said, is at an intersection.

"The biggest reason is people just not seeing us, for whatever reason," Dardis said. "We're smaller, obviously. People are looking for bigger vehicles, so I would just tell people, keep your head on a swivel. Look, because the biggest problem is people not seeing people on motorcycles and just driving into our right-of way."

That right-of-way problem seems to have been the case in Sunday afternoon's fatal motorcycle crash, which Dardis calls "heart-breaking."

The crash happened Sunday afternoon on U.S. Highway 52, south of Dubuque.

According to the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office, Kevin Stocks of Bellevue was driving his pickup truck southbound, near Spring Valley Mobile Home Park. When he tried turning left into the park, he pulled into the path of two oncoming motorcyclists, which struck Stocks' truck.

One motorcyclist, 50-year-old Nancy Haberichter of Waukon, survived the crash with injuries.

Her husband, 56-year-old Thomas Haberichter, was the other motorcyclist. He later died from his injuries, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Capt. Dale Snyder with the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office said Thomas Haberichter was wearing a helmet. He said the crash remains under investigation and the county prosecutor's office has not yet filed any charges, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbors in Spring Valley Mobile Home Park say the crash re-routed traffic for about three hours Sunday afternoon along a road in their park.

The traffic is how neighbor Rose Shoop noticed the crash. She said in her 16 years of living in the park, few crashes have happened along that stretch of Hwy. 52.

"I don't remember anything, really. Maybe once or twice in all these years," Shoop said Tuesday.

The length of road along which the crash happened appears to be a straight stretch of the highway.

Dardis said riding a motorcycle is a mix of risk and fun.

"I've had some acquaintances that have died in motorcycle crashes, and it makes you think," Dardis said. "It makes you re-evaluate, you know, 'Why am I on a motorcycle?' And I wish I could explain it to people, you know, 'Why am I out there, taking that risk?' or, 'Why am I teaching other people to do it?' But there is nothing in the world like riding a motorcycle. It's freedom. It's exhilaration."

With warm autumn weekends ahead, Dardis said, "there's going to be a lot of motorcycles out there this fall."

He asks drivers to keep an eye out for those on bikes and asks bikers to wear proper safety gear.

KWWL reached out to the Haberichter family. Thomas Haberichter's son Jarod Haberichter said "he was a great dad," a great man and a loving family member.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has information on motorcycle rider education HERE:

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