Pronghorn Antelope Knocks Two Off Motorcycle in Grand Teton National Park

A Utah couple was knocked off their motorcycle in Grand Teton National Park when a pronghorn antelope slammed into it while trying to cross U.S. Highway 26/89/91.

While the driver, Brady Burgess, 38, of Garland, sustained minor injuries, his 46-year-old wife, Koreen, was more seriously injured and transported to a Salt Lake City hospital for treatment.

The accident, which happened Saturday afternoon and forced the highway's closure for an hour, was highly unusual but demonstrates the care motorists must take while traveling through the national park, Grand Teton officials said.

The collision occurred at 1:25 p.m. about 2 miles south of the park's Snake River Overlook. The Burgesses, who were riding a 2005 Polaris Victory motorcycle, were traveling southbound when the collision occurred. They were leading a string of about seven motorcycles when Mr. Burgess entered the northbound lane in an attempt to pass a motor home.

As the motorcycle started to clear the front of the RV, a pronghorn, heading eastward, began to race across the highway. While traveling at approximately 65 miles per hour, Mr. Burgess tried to swerve left to avoid the animal. In response to the approaching vehicle, the pronghorn leaped into the air and impacted the right side of the motorcycle.

The force of the impact knocked both riders off the motorcycle, causing the bike to tip over. The motorcycle continued to slide for approximately 100 feet down the highway. Neither Mr. Burgess nor his wife was wearing a helmet at the time.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received reports of the accident from several passers-by shortly after it occurred. Eleven park rangers and emergency medical personnel responded immediately to the scene. Emergency medical personnel from Teton County and an off duty Minnesota highway patrolman, who was first on the scene, also assisted with the incident. Two ambulances—one from Grand Teton and the other from Teton County—responded to the scene to transport the two injured people to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.

Park officials said the incident serves as an important reminder that wildlife are often wandering across, or lingering near, park roadways. Therefore, all motorists must be extra alert while driving and slow down for their own safety, as well as the welfare of park animals.

There was no immediate word as to the fate of the antelope.

Comments

I was lucky enough to go to the Four Corners area 2 years ago touring on a motorcycle. We loved seeing the wildlife and one of our first thrills was seeing pronghorn off in the distance...we never got to see them up close. I cannot imagine what it was for everyone involved to have the bliss of the day turned so quickly. And of course helmets, helmets, helmets.

Here in South Carolina, motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets. One result is that many motorcyclists in this state are killed every year in accidents they might easily have survived if they had been wearing helmets. From time to time, a wag suggests that we pass a law requiring helmet-hating motorcyclists to purchase "Donorcycle" license tags bearing the owner's blood type.

Pronghorn are very common in Wyoming. You'll find them in Yellowstone in the far north of the park near the North Entrance. The very best pictures I ever took of Pronghorn were in the Badlands in 2005 - see
this link
. Pronghorn are extremely fast; I bet they didn't know what hit them ... perhaps, never seeing the pronghorn.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

I was returning to Ca. on saturday from Yellowstone after 13 days in the park. I found it interesting that motorcycle drivers have to drive so fast. The speed limit in the park is 45 mph or slower. I was passed so many times by motorcycles driving in excess of the limit. If they need speed...stay home, save our wildlife for those who really appreciate them...signed a wildlifge photographer.

Helmets indeed...and should be the best that money can buy. There's nothing more arrogant and full of stupidity, is to see some motorcyclist riding without a decent head helmet. When motorcycle accidents do occur, most likely there's some trauma to the skull, and riding without a helmet your inviting yourself to be a bed ridden vegetable for the rest of your life. Skull fractures and living in and out of a comatose state from a sever head injury from a bad motorcycle accident, your chain balled to constant nursing care around the clock. Not to mentioned the astronomical medical costs to keep you alive. If you don't have medical coverage...guess who pays for it? Riding a cycle through the National Parks, is like poetry in motion, but watch out for the WILD LIFE and DRUNKEN DRIVERS. From a ex-surgical tech.

Terrible way to ruin a trip to Yellowstone. The park is way too beautiful to be going 65 MPH. Would the accident have happened had they been going the speed limit? Probably. Would the injuries have been as severe? Probably not. Slow down people, you're not in the big city, you're in paradise.

It is amazing to NOT read any concern over fellow human beings, regardless of how you feel about helmet laws, motorcycles, flora/fauna, or life on another planet. Ladies and Gentlemen, two PEOPLE were injured, one severely. Where is our compassion and our hope of a fast and healthy recovery? It seems that most are more concerned with broadcasting their disdain over what this couple may have done wrong.

I ride my motorcycle to Yellowstone/Tetons every other year, a 5500 mile round trip. It pains me whenever one of our community gets injured. "If you only drive a cage you will never comprehend"

TMV

I too ride for pleasure, but I have seen too many friends crash without a helmet. I understand the "freedom" part and the "uncomfortable" clothing and head gear complaint BUT; if you ignore a risk you have no one but YOURSELF to complain about. It is your choice and YOU must be accountable for it. I do however hope the best for fellow riders as I would hope for their concern if I were injured.