South Dakota Highway Patrol Looking for New Troopers

March 2, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – Applications are now being accepted for the next trooper class of the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Deadline to apply for entrance to Recruit Class 60 is March 24. Officials plan to hire a class of new recruits with training to begin later this year. Successful applicants are informed of where they will be stationed prior to accepting their appointment. Certified law enforcement officers are eligible for a hiring incentive.

It takes about a year from the initial application to graduation to become a state trooper. Once selected, recruits who are not currently certified as a law enforcement officer in South Dakota or another state must first attend the 13-week South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre. The second part of the training is the 10-week South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruit Academy followed by a 10-week field training program.

Currently undergoing training is the 21-member Recruit Class 59. Those new troopers started basic training Nov. 27, 2016. Their graduation ceremony is scheduled for July 21, 2017 in the state Capitol Rotunda.

“This extensive selection process and training program are designed to help us find the best men and women possible,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “We want those who graduate from the Highway Patrol Recruit Academy to be prepared for any situation.”

The trooper application can be found at For more information on requirements and the application process, contact Lt. Randi Erickson, director of Training and Professional Standards Division, at 605-773-2231.

The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

South Dakota Highway Patrol Announces February Sobriety Checkpoints

January 31, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – Twenty sobriety checkpoints are scheduled to be held during the month of February by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

A total of 23 checkpoints are planned at various times. The Highway Patrol conducts the checkpoints as a way  to discourage people from drinking and then driving.

February checkpoints are planned for the counties of: Brookings, Brown, Butte, Charles Mix, Clark, Day, Edmunds, Fall River, Hughes, Jackson, Jerauld, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Roberts, Stanley and Yankton.

The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

2016 Traffic Fatalities Near Record Low – Lack of Seatbelt Use Significant Cause in Most Deaths

January 6, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s 115 traffic fatalities in 2016 are expected to be the lowest since 2011 and second lowest since 1960.

Official numbers are not expected for several weeks, but the final number is not expected to dramatically change.  The 2016 total represents a noteworthy 14.2 percent decrease from the 134 fatalities reported in 2015.

“South Dakota is a national leader in the reduction of traffic fatalities,” says state Office of Highway Safety director Lee Axdahl, “which is particularly encouraging in a year when so many of our other states have been seeing significant increases.  Obviously, this is the direction that we want to go every year but we cannot do it without the help of our friends and family members who drive.”

The number of fatal crashes also was down – 102 in 2016 compared to 116 in 2015.

Authorities stress there is more work that needs to be done. Fatalities related to both speed and alcohol were up slightly while almost 70 percent of those who died were not wearing seatbelts.

The Highway Patrol also has been involved in that safety effort. Along with the normal enforcement and education, troopers were instructed last month to start issuing citations for any vehicle occupant not wearing a seatbelt.

“Seatbelts save lives and many people understand that,” says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the Highway Patrol. “But we want to make sure more people buckle up all the time. That is not just drivers, but passengers as well.”

Axdahl says the Office of Highway Safety’s safe driving messages in 2017 will be directed towards high risk drivers, including teens, young adults, and rural motorists. The office also is sponsoring two safe driving commercials to air during this year’s Super Bowl.

“We are going to keep reminding the public every way we can to wear their seatbelts,” Axdahl says. “It is a very sad and heartbreaking fact that many of those who died in 2016 would still be alive today if they had just buckled up.”

The Office of Highway Safety and the Highway Patrol are part of the Department of Public Safety.

SD Highway Patrol – Sturgis Rally Report – Saturday, Aug 6, 2016 – Wednesday Aug. 10, 2016

Highway Patrol Sturgis Rally Daily Information

Compiled from 6 a.m. Saturday, Aug 6, 2016 to 6 a.m. Wednesday Aug. 10, 2016

Fatal Crashes:

James Smith, 65, Concord, CA has been identified as the person who died in a one-motorcycle crash Monday afternoon. The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 14A, mile marker 49, three miles south of Sturgis. Smith was driving a motorcycle southwest down Boulder Canyon when he failed to negotiate a turn. The motorcycle entered the ditch and struck several rocks. The driver was thrown from the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

At 1:48 p.m., Tuesday, U.S. Highway 16, mile marker 42, east side of Hill City: One person died in a two-vehicle crash. A trike-style motorcycle rear-ended a pickup which had stopped for traffic. The motorcycle passenger, a 68-year-old female, was thrown from the motorcycle and later died as a result of her injuries. The motorcycle driver suffered minor injuries. Neither was wearing a helmet. The pickup driver was not injured.

Injury Related Crashes

At 9:06 a.m., U.S. Highway 16A, mile marker 36, 13 miles east of Custer: Susan Burk, 65, Wheat Ridge, CO was westbound in Custer State Park when she lost control of her motorcycle. She fell off the bike and suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. She was not wearing a helmet.

At 9:40 a.m., U.S. Highway 212, mile marker 20, five miles east of Belle Fourche: Patrick Stensby, 65, Minnewaukan, ND  was driving a motorcycle westbound when he lost control. He was thrown from the motorcycle and suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.

At 10:36 a.m., Interstate 90, mile marker 31, Sturgis city limits: Chad Alcombrack, 48, Tulalip, WA was driving a motorcycle when a vehicle cut in front of him. The driver lost control of his motorcycle and slid into the median. He suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.

At 1:39 p.m., South Dakota Highway 79, mile marker 116, eight miles northwest of Sturgis: Matthias Triep, 55, and Holger Winter, 55, were both traveling south on motorcycles when they encountered road debris on the highway. The Winter vehicle struck the Triep vehicle from behind and both slid into the ditch. Both drivers, who are from Germany, suffered minor injuries. Both were not wearing helmets.

At 3:18 p.m., Wildlife Loop Road, Custer State Park: Stanley Christie, 54, Ontario Canada, was traveling north when he lost control of his motorcycle while crossing a cattle guard. He was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.

At 4:09 p.m., Interstate 90, mile marker 281, three miles west of Kimball: Daniel Montemayor, 45, Mexico was driving a motorcycle west when he lost control. He was thrown from the motorcycle and suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was wearing a helmet.

At 4:20 p.m., Junction of Nemo Road and Schroeder Road: Male motorcycle driver hit a deer. The driver suffered minor injuries.

At 6:28 p.m., U.S. Highway 85, mile marker 5, 12 miles south of Lead: Nevan Leininger, 49, Denver, CO, was northbound on his motorcycle when he failed to negotiate a curve. He suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.


Item Sturgis Rapid City District District Total Last Year to Date
DUI Arrests 79 12 91 109
Misd Drug Arrests 71 30 101 117
Felony Drug Arrests 20 7 27 42
Total Citations 360 415 775 673
Total Warnings 1,815 915 2730 2,257
Cash Seized $623.00 0 $623.00 $12,361.00
Vehicles Seized 5 2 7 9
  For Drug Poss. 5 2 7 8
  For Serial No. 0 0 0 1
Non-Injury Accidents 14 9 23 23
Injury Accidents 15 13 28 58
Fatal Accidents 1 1 2 10
# of Fatalities 1 1 2 10


The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a Column by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

It’s almost rally time in South Dakota. What started in 1938 as a single motorcycle race in a small town has grown into one of the largest and best-known motorcycle gatherings in the world. This year is the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and though we don’t expect the numbers will approach the levels we saw last year, the rally is sure to be well-attended.

Motorcycle enthusiasts won’t just be visiting Sturgis. They will be traveling all around the Black Hills – staying in our local hotels and at our campgrounds, eating in our local restaurants, shopping in our local stores and refueling at our gas stations. Each year the rally has a big economic impact on Sturgis and all of the Black Hills, and that creates benefits for our state too.

An event this size is not without its challenges. To help things go smoothly, the state will create a Rally Operations Center and a Traffic Operations Center. Local law enforcement, the Highway Patrol and ambulance services will have additional personnel working during the rally.

Many state agencies will provide additional staff to support food safety, drinking water safety, fire safety, roadway safety, emergency communications, and vendor sales tax registrations and collections. National Guard soldiers will also be prepared in the event they are needed to respond to a large-scale disaster

For the past 75 years, we’ve had no major emergency at the Sturgis Rally. Our goal is to get through the 76th rally with that record intact, but we need help.

We’re asking South Dakotans to do their part to help make this a safe journey for our visitors. Drive carefully and be particularly mindful of the motorcycles on the road. It only takes one mistake to alter your life and someone else’s forever. If you live in the Black Hills area, plan extra time to reach your destinations, and be patient with law enforcement and emergency responders. If something doesn’t look right – maybe how someone is taking photos of government buildings or measuring distances between buildings – let law enforcement know.  If you see something, say something.

For those who are attending the rally, be careful and be prepared. Wear a helmet and proper riding attire. If you are driving a vehicle, wear your seatbelt. Most importantly, don’t drink and drive.

Riders can visit for real-time information and some helpful tips. On the website there are links to weather updates, fire danger information, Twitter feeds from the departments of Transportation and Public Safety, and a map of hospital, urgent care and police station locations.

One of government’s primary functions is to keep people safe. The state of South Dakota is ready to perform that responsibility and we welcome the opportunity to host so many visitors in our great state. If South Dakotans and our visitors do their part, it will go a long way toward helping make the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a safe and fun event.