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Sunday, December 21, 2014, 4:15 p.m.
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Rider killed after motorcycle hits tree in Franklin County

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published April 21, 2014 at 6:43 a.m.

A motorcyclist was killed and a passenger hurt Sunday night when the vehicle veered into a ditch and then hit a tree, police said.

About 8:15 p.m., Christopher Bennett, 44, of Ozark was riding a 2013 Harley Davidson north on Arkansas 23 about 5 miles south of Ozark in Franklin County when he failed to negotiate a curve in the highway, according to an Arkansas State Police report.

Authorities say the motorcycle crossed the median, went into a ditch, traveled a short distance and then hit a tree.

Bennett died at the scene. A passenger, 45-year-old Deborah J. Nichols of Ozark, was taken to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith for treatment of unspecified injuries.

Conditions at the time were described as clear and dry.

The death was the 103rd fatality in a traffic crash so far this year and one of two deadly crashes Sunday, according to preliminary reports.

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