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Mitchell couple injured in motorcycle crash

A Mitchell couple suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle crash Sunday about four miles west of Sioux Falls.

Steve Vlieger, 63, was driving his motorcycle with his wife, Verla, 55, as the passenger. Around 5:45 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 90, the couple's motorcycle crashed into the back of a pickup when the pickup slammed on its brakes. Jonathan Harms, deputy public information officer at the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, said three vehicles driving west on I-90 were involved in the crash.

Lerista Dooley, 20, of Sioux Falls, was driving a 1997 Chevy Lumina and began to slow down to make a U-turn through a median crossover.

Taylor Hildebrant, 18, of Gann Valley, was driving a 2000 Dodge Dakota behind Dooley when her Lumina began to slow down. Hildebrant slammed on his breaks, Harms said, to avoid hitting Dooley's car.

The Vliegers were behind Hildebrant and struck the rear of his pickup. Dooley's vehicle did not get hit.

The Vliegers were both wearing helmets and Hildebrant was wearing his seat belt. However, the Vliegers were both thrown from the motorcycle.

Steve Vlieger suffered serious, life-threatening injuries and was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital by helicopter. Verla Vlieger suffered serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to a Sioux Falls hospital.

The crash remains under investigation by the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Harms said.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office, Crooks Volunteer Fire Department, Rural Metro Ambulance and a Sanford helicopter responded to the scene.