MU student in motorcycle crash killed by blunt trauma

Friday, August 13, 2010 | 6:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Blunt trauma caused the death of an MU student killed in the Monday morning motorcycle crash on East Nifong Boulevard, the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed on Friday.

Caitlin Valora, 20, died as a result of blunt injuries to the head, neck and torso, the medical examiner's office said.

Valora was a passenger on the motorcycle, which was westbound on East Nifong Boulevard, driving toward State Farm Parkway. East Nifong Boulevard reaches a dead end at State Farm Parkway, forming a T-intersection.

The motorcycle continued through the intersection, hit a curb and became airborne, police said. It came to rest about 20 feet from the road.

Valora was pronounced dead on the scene, authorities said. The driver, Aaron Hansberry, 21, was transported to University Hospital, where he received treatment for a broken right leg. He has since been released from the hospital.

Police found one helmet on the ground near Hansberry. They believe he was wearing it at the time of the crash. They did not locate another helmet.

Missouri law states that motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear protective headgear at all times the vehicle is in motion.

Sgt. Shelley Jones of the Columbia Police Department Traffic Unit said that because Valora was an adult, she was responsible for wearing her own helmet.

She said the officer investigating the crash would look into whether Hansberry could be held accountable for allowing her onto the motorcycle without a helmet.

Police would have to finish the investigation before any citations could be issued or any charges filed, she said.

Public Information Officer Jill Wieneke said it would be a few weeks before the investigation concludes because the investigator is waiting to receive results from a test for drugs and alcohol in the driver's bloodstream.

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