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Possible Speeder Causes Motorcyclist Death in Fruitport Township

Date: June 28, 2011
Location: Broadway Avenue and East Sherman, Fruitport Township
Names: Rex Alan Renells, Steven Pfeiffer

The North Shores man who was killed Tuesday evening when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck has been identified as 45-year-old Rex Renells.

According to Fruitport Public Safety Director Ken Doctor, Renells was driving his motorcycle westbound on Broadway at around 6:30 p.m. A Ford Ranger pickup being driven by Steven Pfeiffer, 56, also of North Shores, was eastbound on Broadway. As the two vehicles approached each other, Pfeiffer made a left hand turn into a Walmart drive on East Sherman. Doctor said this put the Ford Ranger directly into the path of Renells’ motorcycle, which crashed into the front right corner of the truck, causing extensive damage to the vehicle. Pfeiffer, who was alone in the Ford at the time of the accident, was not injured, but Renells was pronounced dead from his injuries a short time after the incident occurred.

Fruitport and North Shores police are continuing their investigations into the accident, and no charges have been filed at this time. A blood alcohol test administered to Pfeiffer confirmed that he had not been drinking at the time of the accident. Toxicology test results on both Pfeiffer and Renells are being awaited by accident investigators. According to Doctor, it’s very difficult to tell how fast the motorcycle was travelling at the time of the Oregon motorcycle accident, because there were no skid marks. Doctor said it will require specialists and scientific calculations to determine the speed of the motorcycle at the time of the crash, and until those tests come back, it will not be possible to apportion blame.

Our hearts go out to Rex Renell’s family and friends during this difficult time. Anytime a motorcycle fatality occurs, we are reminded of the high injury and death rates for motorcycle riders. Several factors contribute to the potential risk, but probably none more so than motorists’ seeming inability to see motorcycles. Certainly rider skill can come into play, and we absolutely welcome the new Oregon law requiring motorcycle skills training. However, no matter how safely a person rides a motorcycle, a car driver who isn’t looking will remain a danger to a motorcyclist.