Investigation: Fridley Officer Barry Pankonin's Motorcycle Death Was 'Tragic Accident'

The off-duty officer died Aug. 21 from crashing after he 'lost control,' according to police in Plymouth.

About a month after Fridley Police Officer Barry Pankonin died in a motorcycle crash outside his Plymouth home, investigators have determined it was a "tragic accident," said Plymouth Police Chief Mike Goldstein.

"There was no foul play, driver inattentiveness or alcohol involved," Goldstein said. "It would appear that Mr. Pankonin lost control of the motorcycle and struck a tree. The impact from the crash caused life-threatening injuries that ultimately took Mr. Pankonin’s life."

Goldstein said the final report explained that Pankonin "was not an experienced motorcycle operator and that lack of experience could have contributed to the crash."

The report did not indicate that there were any malfunctions found with the motorcycle itself, he said.

The Minnesota State Patrol’s Crash Reconstruction Team assisted the Plymouth Police in the investigation and final report.

The crash had happened at about 3:09 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012. According to Plymouth Police, officers responded to the report of a personal injury crash involving a motorcycle in the area of Kingsview Lane and 13th Avenue North in Plymouth.

On arrival, officers located a male victim who had sustained serious injuries.  The victim was transported by ambulance to North Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 4:15 p.m.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report said Pankonin "died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident."

The report confirms that Pankonin's home address was at 14730 13th Avenue North, which was less than 50 feet away from the crash site.

At the time of the crash, Pankonin was alone on the motorcycle and was wearing a helmet.

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