Many in Prineville and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are mourning the loss of wildlife biologist Crystal Ann Strobl, who died on Highway 126 west of Redmond Saturday night when her motorcycle hit the rear tire of another that was slowing down ahead of hers.
OSP Sgt. Keith Taylor identified the woman Sunday morning as Strobl, 35, of Prineville, who was a wildlife biologist with the ODFW's Prineville office.
Around 7:20 p.m. Saturday, a 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle operated by Strobl was heading east on the highway two miles west of Redmond, following two other motorcycles, when they began slowing down for a vehicle ahead of them, Taylor said.
However, Strobl did not slow down quickly enough and hit the rear tire of one of the other motorcycles, operated by John D. Jenkins, 39, of Bend, the sergeant said. She fell off her motorcycle, onto the pavement, and her helmet came off her head.
Redmond Fire and Rescue personnel were first to arrive and pronounced Strobl dead at the scene, Taylor said.
Jenkins brought his motorcycle to a safe stop and was unhurt.
ODOT detoured traffic around the scene until the highway reopened around 9:45 p.m., troopers said, adding that OSP also was assisted at the scene by Deschutes County sheriff's deputies.
"This is such s tragedy," said agency spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy in Portland. "I knew her -- she was a wonderful woman and extremely talented wildlife biologist."
"ODFW mourns her," Dennehy added, "and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
Friend Misty Erickson, who was riding behind Strobl, told NewsChannel 21 on Monday that she was "a wonderful woman" who was very proud of her Harley, "Trigger," which she bought in May.
Erickson said Strobl had only recently organized a benefit for motorcycle mechanic Shad Verney, who just got out of the hospital as he recovers from a bad crash.
"She's a huge part of this community," Erickson said, fighting back tears, noting how Strobl would take dozens of youngsters out skeet shooting on BLM land and do flyovers of public lands, checking on the wildlife.
Erickson said a wake is planned Thursday from 3-5 p.m. at Redmond Memorial Chapel, followed by a costume gathering -- Halloween was her favorite holiday -- at 6 p.m. at Northside Bar and Grill on Boyd Acres Road in Bend.
A memorial fund also is being established, Erickson said, and a larger celebration of life is being planned for Strobl in the future.