Sunday, September 14, 2003

1 killed, 9 hurt at biker benefit



By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

UTOPIA - A Northern Kentucky man was killed and nine others injured Saturday along U.S. 52 in this eastern Clermont County village not far from the Brown County line.

The accident occurred shortly before 1:30 p.m., according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Nearly 200 motorcyclists were taking part in a benefit ride when the driver of a westbound 1991 Saturn crossed the centerline and plowed into the eastbound line of bikes.

Larry W. Rigdon, 52, of Maysville, Ky., died in the crash. Rigdon was believed to be part of the motorcycle group, which included riders from Maysville.

Joshua A. Kash, 18, the driver of the Saturn, was being treated for his injuries Saturday night at Mercy Hospital Anderson. No charges had been filed and the crash remains under investigation.

Jerry and Pamela Strite were riding in the benefit and witnessed the crash.

"He just swerved left ... and hit three bikes and kept going," Jerry Strite said of the car. "His brakes locked up and by that time he was sliding sideways and he was broadsiding into the line (of motorcycles). Bodies were flying up in the air."

Pamela added: "It all happened so quickly. It was too late to yell or blow your horn."

The Strites jumped off their motorcycle and started to help those hurt, they said. They used a first aid kit they kept on their motorcycle, along with towels and clothes.

"There's no way to describe the carnage," Jerry added.

Four medical helicopters flew the injured to University Hospital and Miami Valley Hospital. Others were taken by ambulance to Brown County General Hospital.

At least one woman was in critical condition at Miami Valley, officials said. The conditions of the others were unavailable.

The motorcycle benefit was to help offset the medical bills of Diana Ladenburger, who was paralyzed in a car crash June 22, according to Ladenburger's sister, Esta Weaver.

The 120-mile ride began at about noon. Participants paid $10 for a single rider and $15 for a pair.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com

Enquirer contributor Karen Vance and WCPO-TV9 contributed.




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