Man dies in motorcycle crash

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A 53-year-old man died Monday afternoon after his motorcycle crashed on Muddy Pass.

John Murphey, of Littleton, was riding east on U.S. Highway 40 over Muddy Pass with seven other motorcyclists when his bike crashed at mile-marker 155.8, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar.

The other bikers in the group did not see the crash, but they saw a cloud of dust and a motorcycle coming to a stop on the side of the road, Kaspar said.

There were skid marks from Murphey's bike, which showed Murphey was applying his brakes at the time of the crash. The bike apparently hit ruts on the side of the road and then soft, unstable dirt, which caused it to roll over several times, Kaspar said.

Murphey sustained massive head trauma from the crash because part of his motorcycle cut into and crushed his skull, Kaspar said. He was wearing a helmet at the time.

The motorcyclists were traveling about 75 to 80 mph in a 45-mph-zone, according to one of the bikers, Kaspar said.

Speeding along the curvy section of road likely contributed to the crash, Kaspar said.

The Colorado State Patrol was called to the crash at 4:25 p.m. When Kaspar arrived, Murphey was lifeless. Later, a Grand County deputy coroner pronounced Murphey dead.

Murphey's wife was riding behind him and was at the scene of the crash Monday, Kaspar said.

Murphey was driving a 2000 Honda motorcycle and had a dog riding in the rear passenger seat. The dog was injured and was taken to a veterinarian in Kremmling, Kaspar said.

The motorcyclists were part of a Christian motorcycling group that had taken a long day trip, Kaspar said.

About 65 motorcyclists started off Monday morning from Grand Junction. The group, whose name Kaspar did not know, then rode through Mesa, Rifle, Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs. The group was planning to go to Silverthorne and then back to Grand Junction, he said.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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