SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On October 2, 2023, Skylar Bohn was struck and killed while riding his motorcycle through the intersection of E 8th Street and N St. Paul Ave. in eastern Sioux Falls.
Skylar was hit around two minutes after leaving his home on Conklin Ave., according to his widow, Brandi Bohn.
“He went down Conklin, took that left down to 8th — and started heading down 8th,” Bohn told KELOLAND News, mapping he late husband’s route in her head. “At that intersection of 8th and St. Paul — from talking with officers — he was fixing to go through that intersection, and the person — from what the witnesses say — she slowed down, did not stop, and then just gunned it. That’s the most we know.”
Bohn said Skylar would have ridden onto Cliff Ave. along 8th Street had he made it through the intersection. “That was his route when he took his bike,” she said.”
That intersection is currently a two-way stop, with signs meant to stop traffic travelling north and south through the intersection. As Bohn had been heading west on 8th, he did not have a stop sign.
Sioux Falls Police told KELOLAND News on October 24 that there is not yet a final report filed on the fatal crash.
Despite this, following the fatal crash and rising concerns from those in the neighborhood, the City has conducted a study on the intersection, and changes are in motion.
“Over the past few weeks people have asked us to take a close look,” said Heath Hoftiezer, traffic operations engineer for the City of Sioux Falls.
After conducting a traffic control study, Hoftiezer says the City has made a decision and will be upgrading the intersection to an all-way stop.
“If we go back into the past, this intersection’s averaged about one crash every five years,” Hoftiezer said. “With the development and growth we’ve seen in the area, we’ve seen that over the last couple of years, this intersection has actually increased to two crashes a year.”
The increases in crashes in the area could be chalked up to increased traffic brought by the development at the Empower Campus, as well as other newer developments around the 10th Street area, Hoftiezer said.
Hoftiezer noted that under current metrics, this intersection, with two crashes per year, still doesn’t technically meet the thresholds in terms of volume or crashes to be upgraded to a 4-way stop. “But we have seen a significant growth in crashes at the intersection,” he added.
The order for additional stop signs has already been made, and Hoftiezer said he expects them to be in the ground by early in the final week of October.
Hoftiezer says the City feels this addition of stop signs can cut down the number of crashes at the intersection.
“One of the things we noticed with the crashes is that typically when there was a crash it was that someone ran a stop sign that is in place,” Hoftiezer said. “For those types of crashes, when you have an all-way stop, both people have to run a stop sign most typically.”
The intersection itself is not quite a typical one. The streets do not meet at two perpendicular angles like an average intersection. Instead, N Leaders Ave. comes in at an angle from the north to meet St. Paul at 8th Street. Hoftiezer acknowledged that this may play a factor in the crashes that occur.
This odd meeting of streets gives the intersection a larger-than-average footprint, something that could come into play in the future. “It’d always be a good candidate for a roundabout or something like that,” Hoftiezer said, but noted that a four-way stop is the most immediate fix available.
It’s been clear to Bohn for some time that a fix to the intersection is needed.
“Me and my husband — we have gone through there multiple times,” Bohn said. “About a month and a half before his accident we almost hit a biker that ran that stop sign — a couple days after his accident we were standing and watching traffic and people were running those stop signs left and right.”
Bohn said someone has even damaged the memorial for Skylar that is set up at the corner.
“Between human error and people just not caring, something needs to be done,” Bohn said, and while she’s glad a change is being made, it may not go far enough. “I don’t think just a four-way stop is gonna stop it. I would love for them to put a roundabout there.”
Whether an all-way stop will solve the issues remains to be seen, but it ultimately comes too late for Bohn and her late husband.
“I think it’s kind of sad that it’s taken this long,” Bohn said. “I don’t know why its taken so long and now its taken somebody’s death for the city to say ‘I guess we should check into this — I’m relieved that they’re trying to do something — but at the same time I’m mad. It should not have taken my husband dying.”
Bohn now hopes that people will slow down and pay attention. “They have to. Stop signs are not a suggestion. They’re there for a reason,” she said. “If that’s all anyone takes away from this — just stop and think for two seconds.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to contribute to Skylar Bohn’s funeral and memorial costs. Any excess funds will go to his widow to help with any unexpected expenses.