Police Determining Whether Power Pole A Factor In Motorcycle vs. Truck Crash

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A motorcycle driver is still in the hospital recovering from a crash, and now attention is turning to the corner of where it happened.  

Sioux Falls Police say a 49-year-old Sioux Falls man was on a motorcycle going north on North 4th Avenue.  A  pickup driven by a 25-year-old Sioux Falls man was stopped on East Maple Street waiting to go through the intersection.  The truck driver says he did not see the motorcycle and pulled out in front of it.  The motorcycle struck the driver’s side front quarter panel and vaulted over the truck. 

The crash is cleaned up, but now the real work begins to figure out why it happened in the first place.  Sioux Fall Police are looking at a power pole on that corner to see if it is a factor in the crash.

“I go through this stop sign quite often,” Howard Baartman said. 

Baartman, who owns a nearby business, has his own theory based on what he has experienced at the corner of 4th and Maple. 

“When that pole came up, I didn’t think too much at first until I got to the stop sign.  You look to the left and you’ve got a big blind spot there,” Baartman said. 

Baartman says one time when he thought he was clear to pull forward, he had to stop because a car he did not see almost hit him.  Baartman is not the only person talking about not being able to see to the left. 

“The guy driving the pickup mentioned he didn’t see the motorcyclist and because of that power pole, so that may have been a factor,” Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said. 

Now the Sioux Falls Police Department’s crash reconstruction team is putting all eyes on the structure that is said to block driver’s line of sight. 

“The reason they were spending so much time with that is because of what the suspect said.  That obstructed his sight lines.  That’s just part of that thing, is they’re looking at different angles and whether that would obstruct a view,” Clemens said. 

Clemens says it’ll take about a week to determine what caused the crash.  As for Baartman, he believes the pole is too close to the intersection.

“I can’t build my house that close to the street,” Baartman said.

That is why he avoids it when he can.

“I go the other way from my shop.  I don’t have to go through this stop sign,” Baartman said.  

We called the City of Sioux Falls to find out if anyone else has complained about the power pole.  The principal traffic engineer, Heath Hoftiezer,  says there have not been any complaints about this specific pole.  Despite ordinances in the city that prohibit signs, fences, walls, shrubs and evergreens from blocking what drivers can see, there is nothing specific in there about utility poles.  He says those have always been allowed in the right-of-ways throughout the city.  He encourages drivers to pay attention to where they stop to make sure they have the best view of traffic to keep them safe. 




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