A 58-year-old Bayfield woman died in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash Thursday morning 7 miles south of Silverton on U.S. Highway 550.
Kathryn Tucker was traveling northbound on a 2013 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when she passed a vehicle and veered off the left side of the road, said Capt. Adrian Driscoll with the Colorado State Patrol.
Tucker was wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials are investigating the cause of the crash, but drugs and alcohol don't appear to be a factor, Driscoll said.
The crash occurred at 10:56 a.m. The highway was closed about 30 minutes while officials responded to the crash. The highway used alternating traffic for an hour before the road fully reopened, Driscoll said.
Tucker's husband, Dan Thayer, is a member of the U.S. Navy and was stationed on a ship at the time of the crash and was returning home, said Dixie Gray, Tucker's friend. Gray said Tucker loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. "Kathy's family was a huge part of everything she was," Gray said.
Tucker was an avid motorcycle enthusiast. She worked as a merchandise manger at the Harley-Davidson stores in both Durango and Silverton and was a key member of the Hardly Angels Women's Motorcycle Team.
"Kathy wasn't what a lot of people would call a typical motorcycle rider," Gray said. "She didn't drink alcohol, she didn't smoke. Her nickname was Giggles because she was always laughing, and her laugh was very distinctive."
As news of the crash spread on social media, friends and family shared memories of Tucker on her Facebook page.
"She's the kind of person that lights up a room," her friend Christine Hushion told The Durango Herald. "She had an infectious personality; she was sassy, spunky. Everyone loved her. She was such a wonderful friend."
Tucker had performed with the Hardly Angels for the past 18 years, including three trips to Japan. She was attempting to get the group, currently at eight members, to perform in Australia next year.
"She was the glue," Gray said. "We would love to keep the team moving forward and keep it alive. It's such an awesome thing and she loved it so much. It's hard to lose her but it's what she would like to see."
She recently completed an instructor class to teach a motorcycle safety class at Harley-Davidson and was one of the more talented riders on the team, Gray said.
"Kathy would not want her accident to deter anybody from riding," Gray said. "... Accidents can happen all the time. We can't let things like this cause us not to ride."