Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999


September 7, 1999


Four participants in a motorcycle rally this weekend were injured in an accident Sunday afternoon. None were wearing helmets.

A scavenger hunt ended in road rash and injuries for two motorcyclists and their passengers this weekend north of Meriden.

The cyclists had left the ABATE of Kansas National Labor Day Rally and were participating in a scavenger hunt when the accident occurred just before 2 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Kansas Highway 4 and Butler Road, said Sgt. Robert Poppa of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Two Topeka residents -- Kenneth Stearns, 38, and Fred Schafer, 56 -- were driving their Harley-Davidsons south on K-4 when they came upon a pickup stopped in the middle of the road, waiting to turn left onto Butler, Poppa said.

The driver of the truck, Delbert Davidson of Hoyt saw the cyclists coming from behind and realized that they'd be unable to stop in time, Poppa said, so he quickly hit the accelerator and sped onto the shoulder.

The cyclists also "laid their bikes down" to avoid contact, skidding atop the asphalt.

"By the time they realized it, they were going too fast to stop," said Poppa, who did not issue any traffic citations. "That was probably the smartest thing they could do. They would have hit the truck."

What wasn't smart, Poppa said: Neither Stearns nor Schafer were wearing helmets, and neither were their female passengers.

"They were pretty scraped up, their faces and arms and such -- road rash from the roadway," Poppa said.

Stearns suffered a fractured skull and other injuries and was taken to Stormont-Vail Regional Medical Center, where he was in fair condition Monday night. His passenger, Jovanna Strecker, 30, of Topeka, was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Topeka, where she was treated and released.

Schafer and his passenger, Camille Heeb, 54, of Topeka, also were taken to St. Francis, where they were treated and released.

The weekend rally at Perry Lake, sponsored by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE), was expected to draw 3,000 bikers.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is

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