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Anchorage motorcyclist killed in Seward Hwy. collision

Casey Grove

An Anchorage man is dead after the motorcycle he was riding slammed into the back of a car late Wednesday on the Seward Highway, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The man, 61-year-old John Beyers, was driving a 2010 Yamaha Venture Star motorcycle toward Anchorage with two other motorcyclists about 9 p.m. near Mile 92.5, troopers said in a written statement Thursday. That is about 2½ miles north of Girdwood on a three-lane section of the highway, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

"The three motorcycles were riding in what's considered a staggered formation," Ipsen said. "They do that to avoid something that happens to the lead motorcycle. It still happened in this case."

A 2006 BMW two-door coupe in front of the motorcyclists slowed to turn left into a pullout on the opposite side of the highway from their lane of travel, troopers said. Beyers hit the back of the car, and the rider behind him, 67-year-old Anchorage resident Robert Farrington, hit Beyers, troopers said. The third motorcyclist, whom troopers did not identify, avoided the collision and was uninjured, Ipsen said.

Beyers was wearing a helmet, Ipsen said.

Troopers shut the highway down to one lane. Ambulances rushed Beyers and Farrington to a hospital. Beyers was pronounced dead at the hospital, troopers said. Farrington received minor injuries, troopers said.

Ipsen said she did not know how fast the motorcycles were traveling. Troopers investigating the crash had not talked to the BMW's driver, 60-year-old Anchorage resident Gerald Hanson, by late Wednesday about the circumstances of the crash, she said. The investigators were looking into how quickly everything happened, Ipsen said.

"I think they're still trying to figure that out," she said.