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5 Biker Deaths Mar Harley-Davidson Rally

May 17, 2003

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ Five motorcycle riders have been killed in traffic accidents during this year’s Harley-Davidson rally, the most in seven years at the annual event.

The annual Carolina Harley-Davidson Dealers Association Myrtle Beach Rally wraps up Sunday. Estimates Friday put the crowd at about 250,000.

The latest killed was Donald L. Ashford, 49, of Aberdeen, Md., who died at a hospital Friday after running off a road and striking his head on the pavement.

Law enforcement officials say there isn’t a common thread among the wrecks this year.

``It’s just the crowd,″ said Highway Patrol Trooper 1st Class Ashley Mew. ``And most of the ones who have been fatally injured were not wearing helmets.″

South Carolina does not require bikers 21 or older to wear helmets. Ashford wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Hospitals had treated about 60 injured bikers as of Friday, compared with about 85 during the 10-day event last year.

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