Carbon monoxide kills two rallygoers in Sturgis

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Just as many people died from carbon monoxide poisoning as died from crashes at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Campers parked at Days End Campground in Sturgis. (KOTA TV)

The rally was over when the last two carbon monoxide deaths were discovered ... a couple who were sleeping in a bike trailer.

Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin says, "It was Monday, we received a call from a gentleman who said that his, father I believed it was, had not returned home from the rally and wanted to know if we've had any accidents or things like that they could have been involved in."

After receiving the call, the Meade County Sheriff's Department went to investigate and found two people with carbon monoxide poisoning lying inside a motorcycle trailer.

The first carbon monoxide death was Tuesday. An Omaha, Neb., man was found dead in his motor home at the rally.

This is an all-too common tragedy according to the sheriff. People will bring a trailer with their motorcycles and then sleep in there with a generator running.

Portable carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased, but make sure to check the manufacturing date.

"The carbon monoxide detectors and the propane detectors in campers are only rated for five years from the date of manufacture of the carbon monoxide detectors," says Mike Smith at the Green Star Camper Center.

The sheriff's office is planning new ways to warn people of carbon monoxide danger.

"We will probably do some type of a campaign, put a sign up at the campgrounds or something reminding people," says Merwin. "If we can get all the campgrounds, I am sure all the campgrounds will be more than happy to post something."

The sheriff believes spreading the message is the best way to prevent future deaths.