AUSTIN -- Police are urging drivers to stay safe as we head into a notoriously dangerous weekend on the roads. The annual Republic of Texas (ROT) Rally is coming to Austin, and police say a deadly accident early Thursday morning was a bad start.
Officers at the scene told KVUE that neither person on the motorcycle was wearing a helmet when they slammed into a guard rail on the Interstate 35 on-ramp north of William Cannon Drive just before 1:30 a.m. Police say the driver was trying to cut to the ramp but failed and hit the median.
The driver is described as in his early 30s, currently in critical condition at University Medical Center Brackenridge. His passenger was a woman in her 20s. She did not survive the crash.
She was identified June 14 as 26-year-old Dana Henderson.
Police don't know if the pair were in town for the ROT Rally, but they want to remind all drivers that officers will be out in full force this weekend to prevent any more accidents like this one.
"Just be very careful, be looking around when you're on a motorcycle, especially this weekend," said Corporal Michael Jennings. "For the drivers of cars, just pay attention, watch out for the bikes. We have a lot of bikes here in town. We just want everybody to be safe and have a great weekend and enjoy this ROT Rally here."
Corporal Jennings also wants to remind drivers to pay attention to the other drivers around them, and if you're on your motorcycle this weekend or any weekend, wear your helmet.
Through the end of the rally on Sunday, APD will run extra patrols and DWI units will conduct a No Refusal Initiative to monitor the 200,000 people expected at this year's ROT Rally.
It's certainly one of the most dangerous times of the year out on Austin's roads. Last year 23 people were taken to the hospital, 16 with serious injuries. Five people died in traffic accidents; three were on bikes.