By Kate Klimesh,
Fall is a great time of year for motorcycle enthusiasts; the changing leaves, the warm days with autumn sun, and cool nights worthy of wearing the leathers. There’s a reason fall rallies and rides are planned and are popular.
With many riders on the roads trying to squeeze in one more ride, one more route for the season, it’s also a great time to remind all drivers to keep a watchful eye out for motorcyclists on the road.
Unfortunately, there have been three motorcycle fatalities within the past several weeks affecting friends and neighbors in the Driftless region. Even one is too many, but losing three people to what may have been avoidable accidents gives reason for pause. That’s right, put the phone down, focus on driving and keep your eyes open for those that share the road – be they two wheels or four.
We remember those who have lost their lives recently.
• Nashua resident Cole Theodore Diesburg, 26, originally from Waukon, died Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Winneshiek County. Cole was the son of Dawn (Heyenga) Destival and Chuck Diesburg. He was raised in Waverly and graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock High School in 2017. During his life he worked as a welder at Unverferth Manufacturing in Shell Rock, Iowa and as a Wind Turbine Tech. He was the best son a mother and father could have and was always there for whoever needed his help.
• Matthew J. Sweeney, 41, of Waukon, died Friday, July 22, 2022, in Waukon from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Matthew Joseph Sweeney was born Oct. 21, 1980, in Waukon, the son of Joseph Raymond and Kristine Ann (Stock) Sweeney. He wasn’t afraid to pursue his passions and for many years he could be found racing stock cars and running Sweeney’s Racing Supplies, providing racing supplies and fuel at the track. Many may also be familiar with his Hidden Valley Ranch and his prized donkey Happy, but Matt also had a herd of cattle and took pride in his farming operation and the calves that he raised. He was a founding member of the musically-challenged yet wildly-popular sensation “The Toe Smashers.”
• Kevin Fleming, 35, of Des Moines, died Sept. 4, 2022, in Kickapoo, Wis. Fleming graduated from Hoover High School and Iowa State University. He possessed a laugh that put a smile on people’s faces and made them feel better. He was a kind man who was always looking out for the welfare of others. His girlfriend, Amber Blake of Waukon, was a passenger in that accident and was life-flighted to Gundersen LaCrosse Hospital. She suffered severe injury, fractures and broken bones in her pelvis, a broken jaw, broken arm and broken foot. She works as a travel nurse and is currently uninsured. She is unable to work during her treatment and recovery. Ashley Blake has a GoFundMe page organized by Amy Archer, established to assist in her living expenses and insurmountable medical bills, but that can’t bring Kevin back.