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http://www.gazetteextra.com/fatal062405.asp



By Mike DuPre'
Gazette Staff

A young man and a young woman's paths crossed Thursday morning.

Tragically.

It was the end of the road for Amy M. Hockmuth and Kyle S. Eckelberg, both of Janesville.

Eckelberg was riding his Honda sport motorcycle south on Highway 11. He was flying.

Hockmuth was sitting high in her full-size GMC pickup truck at Hanover Road.

Maybe she didn't see the motorcycle. Maybe she was in a hurry. Maybe she gambled.

Hockmuth pulled out to cross Highway 11. Eckelberg's motorcycle slammed into the driver's side door of the pickup.

The force was so intense that .Eckelberg and his bike wound up in the truck cabin with Hockmuth. The impact tipped the large pickup onto its passenger side.

Janesville firefighters had to extricate both victims and the motorcycle from the truck.

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The driver of this truck and the driver of the motorcycle were both killed in this accident Thursday morning at Highway 11 and Hanover Road.
Bill Olmsted/Gazette Staff

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"Going through a truck is definitely more energy than 55 miles per hour," said Sgt. David Vierck of the Rock County Sheriff's Department.

Speed was a definite factor in the accident, said Vierck, who directed the investigation at the accident scene.

No evidence of alcohol or drug use was found at the scene, he added

Hockmuth was traveling east, apparently on her way home to 105½ S. Academy St. from her boyfriend's house. She had a young daughter, the sheriff's department reported.

Hockmuth was 23.

Eckelberg lived with his parents-Kenny and Debbie Eckelberg, 3033 W. Avalon Road.

He was 20.

The accident occurred at 11:07 a.m. in Rock Township.

Hockmuth failed to yield the right of way from a stop sign. Eckelberg was speeding.

Both had poor driving records.

Hockmuth's court record showed eight traffic tickets, including two convictions for driving on a suspended license and an open case for driving on a revoked license.

Eckelberg's court record showed six traffic tickets, most for speeding. His most recent ticket was for driving 48 mph over the limit on May 16.
 

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Seems like the likely result when you mix poor driving records and excessive speed.

To topple a truck like that is amazing- he must have been going 100+ easily, anyone want do to the math and figure out the required force to tip that truck over and calculate backfwards to find velocity? That'd be cool ;)
 

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Are we not men?
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That truely sucks. Damn, the woman had a child. WTF were they thinking? You save the high speed runs for the track or a secluded stretch of road with no cross-traffic and good visibility. And some people just don't look when pulling onto a road (whether the traffic is bikes or other cages).

Saw a similar post about a guy running his RC51 nearly through a car.
 

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Wow, what a terrible tragedy, and a lesson to us all.
 

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You beat me to it man, I was just going to post this. I take Hwy 11 to work every day. I go right by this intersection. I looked as I went by today and you can see the bikes skid mark and some stains on the road. I was kinda freaked out when I heard about this. It is pretty obvious that the guy was going way too fast. I would say at least 150 mph judging by the looks of that picture. We can all learn from this. In a situation like this a little common sense goes even further than wearing gear. A helmet would have done nothing for him but keep his face in one peice to they could ID him easier. RIP!
 

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Both men and women have children.
Both men and women speed in various vehicles.
Both men and women have choices and make choices-good or bad.
Both men and women die.

The sex and whether or not a child was affected is irrelevant. What matters is two young people died due to poor judgement. It's a sad thing.
 

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R.I.P to both of them
 

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OldSchlPunk said:
That truely sucks. Damn, the woman had a child. WTF were they thinking? You save the high speed runs for the track or a secluded stretch of road with no cross-traffic and good visibility. And some people just don't look when pulling onto a road (whether the traffic is bikes or other cages).
If the guy was going over 150mph, the lady probably wouldn't have seen him even if she looked before pulling out onto the road... especially if the road is curved or hilly.

At 150mph, in three seconds, you can easily cover two footfall fields.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I rode by the spot of the accident today. It was pretty sobering to see the 10 to 15 foot skid mark, the stains in the road, an a cross and reef for the guy on the bike. :(
 

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sjlee said:
If the guy was going over 150mph, the lady probably wouldn't have seen him even if she looked before pulling out onto the road... especially if the road is curved or hilly.

At 150mph, in three seconds, you can easily cover two footfall fields.
That is exactly what I have been saying. If he was going that fast chances are she thought she had enough to time to cross but at those speeds she was wrong. But I serveyed the crash scene today on my way to work and his skid mark is not very long. I think she pulled right out in front of him. I think even if he was going the speed limit he would have hit her. The outcome probably would have been much different had he been going slower but nobody really knows or will ever know. I think they are both equally at fault. This is just my observations from what I have seen. Jake, you've seen it, what do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
GixxersRule said:
That is exactly what I have been saying. If he was going that fast chances are she thought she had enough to time to cross but at those speeds she was wrong. But I serveyed the crash scene today on my way to work and his skid mark is not very long. I think she pulled right out in front of him. I think even if he was going the speed limit he would have hit her. The outcome probably would have been much different had he been going slower but nobody really knows or will ever know. I think they are both equally at fault. This is just my observations from what I have seen. Jake, you've seen it, what do you think?
To be honest with you, I put the motorcyclist at fault. I figured from the top of the hill from the south to the intersection is probably around an 1/8th of a mile. If you figure he was doing 120 mph (judging by impact to the truck and the damage that the bike did I think this is figuring low) when he crested the hill, he would have covered that 1/8th of a mile in less than 4 seconds. I'm sure when the woman was crossing the intersection she most likely figured she had a hell of a lot more time to get across than this. But who knows what happened without actually seeing what really happened.
 

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Hmmm... the mystery deepens...
 

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I feel bad for them... but they made bad decisions... and poor driving records have little to do with this... I know lots of people that have good driving records that excessively speed at times...
 

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Poor driving records have A LOT to do with this. Someone who has more tickets is more likely to excessively speed- their record proves it. Just because you know people with good records that excessively speed at times doesn't negate the importance of driving history.
 

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Don't get me wrong. Yes, both men and women have children, die, whatever...it's a shame these two shuffled off this mortal coil. RIP, Godspeed.

Where I'm coming from is this. Every time I ride I realize my number could get pulled. My kid needs his dad. I do whatever I can to make sure he has one.

Riding is risky, stupidity doesn't need to enter into the equation. Riding/ driving are serious business, I treat both as such. This doesn't mean I won't push the limits from time to time, but you have to be sensible about it. Take it to the track if that's what it takes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's a little follow-up to this story.......

http://www.gazetteextra.com/milks071905.asp

Telephone threats lead to man's arrest

(Published Tuesday, July 19, 2005 10:44:56 AM CDT)

By Sid Schwartz
Gazette Staff

A Janesville man apparently upset about The Janesville Gazette's controversial coverage of a double-fatal crash was arrested Monday on allegations that he made threatening calls to the Gazette's editor.

Police detectives arrested Grant Milks, 20, of 3749 Bryn Mawr Drive, on a charge of unlawful use of a telephone. Milks told police he is a friend of Kyle Eckelberg, who was killed June 23 when his motorcycle smashed into a pickup truck driven by Amy M. Hockmuth at Hanover Road and Highway 11.

The Gazette's story about the crash resulted in dozens of letters to the editor and calls to the newspaper's Sound Off anonymous call-in column.

In the July 3 issue of the Gazette, Editor Scott Angus wrote a column about the story titled "Covering tragedy often means tough decisions."

It was Angus' column, apparently, that upset Milks, according to police.

Milks is accused of calling Angus at work Thursday morning and threatening to beat him up and "track you down and kill you," according to reports. He then is accused of calling Angus' home a short time later and telling his wife, "This is the kid that just talked to your husband. Now I know where you live," according to police reports.

Police used telephone records to track the calls to Milks' home, according to reports.

Milks admitted to detectives that he called Angus at work and threatened to "beat him up." He also admitted calling Angus' home, but he denied threatening to kill Angus.

After his arrest, Milks was released with a court date of Monday, Aug. 15.
 

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SteveR6 said:
What was this column by this Angus guy about? Any clue?
Covering tragedy often means tough decisions

(Published Sunday, July 3, 2005)

By Scott Angus
Gazette Editor

Vehicles collide. People die. The Gazette covers the tragedy.

Sadly, such accidents happen regularly, and the Gazette publishes dozens of stories every year about accidents, victims and circumstances.

On June 24, our coverage of a devastating collision between a car and motorcycle was different. In many people's minds, it was different in a bad way. They say it was insensitive, that it was speculative, that it unnecessarily included the victims' driving records.

The reaction was swift and sharp. The calls and letters kept coming. Few of us can remember such a swell of accusation and anger.

We've talked a lot about reporter Mike DuPre's story. We're trying to learn from the experience. We're deciding how it will affect our coverage in the future.

Before I get into the details, however, I'd like to address a few important basics.

First, DuPre' is a veteran reporter and a true professional. He was looking for a compelling way to tell a horrific story. That was his only motive. It's fair to question the result, but attacking DuPre's character is going too far.

Several editors read the story before it was published. They know DuPre'. They talked to him about it. They understood his intent. And they thought the story was effective.

The last basic is that our job is to provide perspective on news. That means including enough information so readers can understand-at least to a degree-what happened and why.

We try to be sensitive to families and friends. But sometimes our obligation to the truth and to readers requires us to include information that upsets the people closest to a tragedy.

I often get asked, "How would you like it if it was your family member?" I wouldn't. But if we made every decision with family members' interests foremost in our minds, we'd leave a lot of important information out of the newspaper-information that other people have an interest in and a right to know.

The criticism of this story focused on a handful of elements. Several were phrases that admittedly were atypical for a news story. The victims' "paths crossed." The accident was "the end of the road" for the young people. Clearly, many readers thought those words were insensitive.

Others complained about what they perceived as DuPre' adding opinion or conjecture. He wrote that the motorcyclist "was flying" and that the truck's driver might have done this or that. While those statements weren't attributed, they were largely supported by the facts and circumstances. The motorcyclist was going at least 80 mph, deputies estimated. The truck driver made a mistake, and DuPre' listed the most likely reasons.

Finally, many critics focused on the story's last passage about the pair's driving records. They didn't see the relevance, and they thought including those details was the height of insensitivity.

While the other areas involved judgment calls, this was solid reporting that offered perspective for readers. The drivers shared blame in this accident. Both had histories of bad judgments on the road. That's relevant information that helps people better understand how such a thing could happen.

That doesn't lessen the tragedy. Two young people are gone. Their loved ones must grieve and go on without them.

If people took our story as making light of the tragedy or disrespecting the victims, we're sorry. That was not our intent.

We cover death too often at the Gazette, but it's part of our job. Sometimes, if circumstances warrant, we break from our normal approach in an attempt to make readers think-about what happened, about why it happened, about what the community has lost.

That's what DuPre' was trying to do.

"I just wanted people to feel the story," he said during a discussion earlier in the week.

For good or for bad, people did.

Scott W. Angus is editor of The Janesville Gazette.
 

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Captal said:
Poor driving records have A LOT to do with this. Someone who has more tickets is more likely to excessively speed- their record proves it. Just because you know people with good records that excessively speed at times doesn't negate the importance of driving history.

Driving "record" dosent mean a whole lot because all that says is how many times a person has been CAUGHT for speeding etc.. There is tonnes of people that speed like mad everyday and have clean records because they havent been caught yet. All the record means is he simply didnt learn from his actions before it was too late unfortuneatly

And everyone of us is guilty of twisting the throttle a little more when we are late or something.
 
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