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Bee stings at Sturgis result in hospitalizations

STURGIS, S.D.— Stirred up bees from an apiary at a home in Sturgis during the motorcycle rally over the weekend sent three people to the hospital.

Sturgis police said the bees stung the beekeeper at his home where the bees were being kept and also two police officers who responded to the scene.

One officer was stung 47 times.

Police said Sunday night all three men were doing fine after undergoing treatment after the incident on Friday night about 7 p.m. when officers responded to a call where Italian and Russian honey bees had been "stirred up."

"It was an absolute crazy half hour," said a police dispatcher.

Law officers had to close the area down and advised people to stay in their homes until the bee swere under control, according to Police Chief Geody VanDewater.

VanDewater says additional professional help aided in that effort to get the bees under control.

A dog also died from bee bites at the home.

The rally ended over the weekend with a crowd estimated at possibly 450,000 attending, a far cry from the possible crowd of up to 1 million last year for the 75th anniversary.

The official number won't be known for about a month as Sturgis officials use various factors to determine the crowds, including data from the state Department of Revenue for sales. Counters are also put on roads leading into Sturgis to record the number of vehicles entering during the weeklong event that often starts early and continues for a few days after.

With the smaller crowds, deaths associated with the rally were way down this year. There were three fatal accidents this year compared to a brutal 18 last year in the Black Hills area.

There were 50 injury accidents compared to 124 last year.

DUI arrests seemed to be high this year as 187 tickets were written, compared to 196 last year.

Drug arrests were down, however, at 226 compared to 254 last year. Authorities seized almost $16,000 in drug money and nine vehicles this year, compared to almost $23,000 and 13 vehicles last year.