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Benton City man dies, wife injured in motorcycle accident

WEST RICHLAND -- A Benton City man has died after he and his wife were involved in a head-on collision Saturday in West Richland.

Joel Vance died at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

A West Richland police news release said Vance was 62. However, a public records search shows Joel Vance, who went by Joe, was 52. His wife, Lorri Vance, 51, is in stable condition at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, said a hospital spokesman.

The two were riding their motorcycles west on Kennedy Road at 4:38 p.m. Saturday when they were hit by a four-door, mid-size sedan. The crash occurred just west of the Bombing Range Road intersection.

According to the news release from Chief Brian McElroy, the eastbound sedan crossed the center line into the oncoming lane, where it collided with the motorcycles.

The Vances were "thrown to the shoulder of the roadway," McElroy said. The sedan came to a stop on the north shoulder of Kennedy. The husband and wife were taken to Kadlec, then Joel Vance was transferred to the Spokane hospital. An autopsy to determine the cause of his death is scheduled this week, McElroy said.

Lorri Vance reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Information about the sedan's driver, including his name, age or city of residence, was not released by McElroy. Police officials on Sunday said that is because the wreck is under investigation and the man has not been charged with anything at this time.

The driver is cooperating with officers, McElroy said in his news release. The passengers in the sedan were all taken to Kadlec and later released.

Officers returned to the scene Sunday and closed off that part of Kennedy Road while they took measurements. McElroy said, "Speed is believed to be a contributing factor."

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