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Tragedy in Moses Lake: Motorcyclist dies after jump try

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | June 18, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Motorcyclist and stunt rider Alex Harvill died from injuries he suffered when he attempted a world record motorcycle jump Thursday at Grant County International Airport.

Harvill, 28, was rushed to Samaritan Hospital Thursday morning after a bad landing during a practice run sent him flying over his handlebars without his helmet, which flew off his head.

According to a statement from Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kyle Foreman, an autopsy would be done on Friday to determine the exact cause of death. Foreman said he wasn’t told whether Harvill died at the hospital.

Harvill was trying to break the world record for a jump from a moveable, pre-built ramp to a dirt ramp at 351 feet, according to Guinness World Records. He was making the jump as part of this year’s Moses Lake Airshow.

Harvill was making his first practice jump and got what appeared to be a good takeoff when he landed short of the downward slope on the landing ramp. The bike stopped moving, but Harvill didn’t. His helmet flew off, and he flew over the handlebars, twisting at least once before hitting the ground around 20 feet away.

Paramedics and members of Harvill’s family responded quickly, though it took some time before emergency workers decided how best to load him on an ambulance.

A crew with Lifeflight, attending the air show as part of a “static display,” started its helicopter, but Harvill was instead taken to Samaritan Hospital by ambulance.

“Everyone was already here for him in case this happened,” said Grant County International Airport Director Rich Mueller. “Obviously we didn’t want to see him crash today, but we were ready for it.”

Before the jump, Harvill’s wife, Jessica, said she was used to the risks her husband took.

“It’s a little scary from time to time, but you’ve gotta trust that he knows what he’s doing,” she said. “I’ve been around it so long it’s kind of just normal in a way, even though that sounds weird, because it’s totally abnormal.”

Jessica Harvill, who was at the air show with their children Willis, 5, and newborn Watson, said Alex was preparing for these jumps for the past two weeks, but during that time he never jumped the ramp prior to Thursday’s first attempt.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.