BURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Family and friends are mourning the loss of a local father killed Saturday morning doing what he loved more than anything in the world: riding his motorcycle.
Everyone who knew 45-year-old Mike Fitch said he lived his life almost exclusively on two wheels--especially his beloved Harley Davidsons. In fact, those who knew him best insist Fitch was living a dream, selling bikes at a St. Paul dealership.
“He had such a passion for this and for what he did,” said Tom Giannetti, owner of the Harley Davidson dealership where he was Fitch’s boss. “We all loved Mike. He was a lovable guy.”
Every sale Fitch made was proudly documented with a snapshot of the new Harley owner in a post on his Facebook page.
“This is his calling, to put people on these motorcycles and let them enjoy the passion and the feeling he enjoyed so much,” Giannetti said.
Tragically, Fitch was killed in a motorcycle crash in Burnsville early Saturday morning. Investigators haven’t found an eyewitness to the crash along the Highway 13 frontage road, but a passerby spotted Fitch and his broken Harley that appeared to have veered off the road.
Fitch's passing marks Minnesota's first motorcycle-related death this season.
Now, the community in Burnsville, Minn., is coming together to honor 45-year-old Mike Fitch and make sure his young daughter is taken care of for years to come.
One of Fitch's best friends, Tim Heldman, and others in the local biker community are now arranging a memorial ride to honor their friend, brother and favorite Harley sales guy.
On May 20, hundreds are expected to come out for the Blessing of the Bikes at the St. Paul dealership and then to hit the open road to grieve and reminisce. All the while, they'll be fundraising to help Fitch’s young daughter.
“He was a wonderful guy; he’ll be missed. There’s a hole… it’s a tough deal,” Giannetti said.
Motorcycle crash statistics
According to preliminary reports from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there have been four motorcycle fatalities to date this year. That compares to six at this same time last year.
In 2017, 52 motorcyclists died on Minnesota roads, compared to 54 in 2016. The record for the most motorcycle fatalities was set in 1980, when 121 motorcyclists were killed.