By Shereen Siewert

Five people were injured, one critically, in three separate Lincoln County motorcycle crashes over a weekend that drew thousands of bikers to the area for the annual Fall Ride.

The first crash happened at about 7:20 p.m. Friday when a motorcycle traveling west on County Road D struck a deer. The driver, a 59-year-old Edgar man, was taken to a local hospital by ambulance before being flown to the trauma center at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where he was reported to be in critical condition.

His passenger, a 43-year-old Edgar woman, was injured in the crash. She was taken to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital for treatment and was later released. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash. Neither victim was wearing a helmet.

Then on Saturday afternoon, a 911 caller at 1:26 p.m. reported a crash on Hwy. 51 at County Road Q. A 29-year-old Wild Rose man, who was not wearing a helmet, was injured in the single motorcycle crash and was transported to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

But alcohol appears to have been a factor in a motorcycle crash Saturday evening that left a 39-year-old West Bend woman injured. Police say a 47-year-old man who fled the scene of the crash and is now in custody facing felony charges. The passenger who was injured has since been released from the hospital.

The fourth crash was reported Sunday afternoon in the town of Bradley, when a 37-year-old Waupaca man was injured. The driver, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported by Tomahawk EMS to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital for treatment of injuries that appeared non life-threatening.

Though downtown events for the annual Fall Ride in Tomahawk were canceled this year, many businesses moved ahead with events to draw visitors to the area. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department reported significant traffic with deputies working extra grant-funded shifts to address safety issues, taking several impaired drivers off the road and writing numerous citations, mostly related to speeding.

At least four motorists were cited for traveling faster than 90 mph on Hwy. 51, two of which were traveling in excess of 100 mph. In all, dispatchers handled more than 400 calls for service last week with about 150 related to traffic, officials said.