Crashes leave four motorcyclists dead in just three days

CREATED Apr 22, 2014

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MUKWONAGO - Two terrible crashes lead to the deaths of four innocent motorcycle riders in Wisconsin in just the past three days.  

The crashes are eerily similar - drivers not paying attention, and colliding with the motorcycles.
 
One of the victims, Katie Axlen, is from Mukwonago. The 20-year-old was a senior at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.  She was an honor roll student, studying Biology and German.
 
She was killed while riding a motorcycle with her friend, Alex Reeder, 21. Investigators say they were on State Highway 66 in Portage County when a mini-van turned in front of them.
 
"Two Mukwonago Police officers showed up at my door to tell me that my daughter had been killed on a motorcycle," describes Larry Axlen. "She had never even ridden on a motorcycle before. We were stunned."
 
Larry was with Katie less than 24-hours earlier, on Easter Sunday. "We were all together. We had a great time. She had to get back and study. You never expect something like this to happen."
 
On Easter, Katie donated 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. Last month, she spent her spring break volunteering for habitat for humanity.
 
A good kid, gone far too soon.
 
Motorcycle safety experts say crashes like this are all too common and avoidable.
 
"Nearly all of them are preventable," says Rick Breuer, the Owner of Learning Curves, a motorcycle safety school. "It's either the rider not paying attention, or the driver that didn't see them.  Motorcycles are a lot smaller than cars. Damage can be extreme. We spent this long, brutal winter not seeing any motorcycles, so we need to be much more aware now. They are back on the roads, and we need to really watch out for them."
 
Two motorcyclists were killed in a different crash in Janesville. It happened on Easter Sunday. Police continue to search for the SUV, that fled the scene of that accident.