No autopsy to be done on biker

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John Murphey rode his motorcycle as a ministry.

The 53-year-old Littleton man was part of a local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association and was doing a long day ride with his wife when his bike went off the road Monday afternoon and crushed him.

Murphey died instantly from massive head injuries.

Murphey and his wife, Darlene, felt their mission was to go out and share the Bible with others, "but as bikers, which a lot of people don't normally view as being in that kind of a realm," Denice Loud, Darlene's sister, said.

Murphey was riding east on U.S. Highway 40 over a curvy section of Muddy Pass with seven other motorcyclists, including his wife, when his bike crashed at mile marker 155.8, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar said Monday.

Although initial police investigations suggested Murphey was speeding at more than the 45-mph posted speed, Loud said she feels that something else could have been involved in the crash.

"We have several bikers in our family, and he is the most safe one of everyone," Loud said. "He takes so many precautions, and that's why we just had such a hard time with this happening."

Loud said she wondered whether Murphey, who was riding as the lead biker, according to riders, had a bug fly into his eye, saw an animal or even had a heart attack.

Kaspar could not be reached Tuesday but said Monday that speed appeared to play a role in the crash.

Grand County Coroner David Schoenfeld said that toxicology and blood alcohol tests were being submitted but that results would not be available until later this week. Those tests are standard and do not mean there were signs that alcohol or drugs were involved.

Although the accident occurred in Jackson County, the Grand County Coroner is handling the case. The Jackson County Coroner decided not to do an autopsy, Schoenfeld said, but a test probably would not have revealed much because of Murphey's head injuries.

About 65 motorcyclists started off Monday morning from Grand Junction. The group then rode through Mesa, Rifle, Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs, with plans to go to Silverthorne and then back to Grand Junction, Kaspar said.

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

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