October 29, 2009 in City

Motorcyclist involved in crash identified

By The Spokesman-Review
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The biker killed in a crash Wednesday had been a member of the Ghost Riders motorcycle gang and served time in prison for killing two people.

Michael W. Fraser, 51, died when his bike slid more than 200 feet into an oncoming car on North Market Street, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Fraser was southbound on Market when he tried to pass another vehicle in a no-pass zone just south of Hawthorne Road about 5:15 p.m., according to a news release.

He lost control of his 1985 rebuilt motorcycle and tipped over, hitting a 1994 Mercury Sable driven by a Mead man who had braked “to almost a complete stop,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

“The motorcycle went under the front of the Sable, trapping its rider beneath the car and killing him almost instantly,” according to the news release. The Sable’s driver was not injured.

Deputies said Fraser was traveling about 70 mph in the 45 mph zone.

Fraser, whose nickname among fellow bikers was Herpes, spent several years on the lam after the 1982 shooting death of Ben S. Lawson, 32, at the old Red Robin tavern on North Monroe Street, according to news archives. He was captured in 1989 and spent a year in prison on a second-degree manslaughter conviction before being paroled, according to the state Corrections Department.

News articles say he also was named as one of 11 defendants in a 1983 arson murder of a Wisconsin woman, for which Ghost Rider leader Al Hegge and three others were convicted in 1985. Hegge is serving life in prison for murdering a Spokane police officer in 1983.

Fraser returned to prison in 1992 after a customer was shot twice in the back and killed during a barroom brawl in Arlington, Wash., with several other members of the Ghost Riders, according to a 1996 Seattle Times article.

Fraser was convicted of second-degree murder and released in 2005, state records show. He was not on probation.

Sgt. Dave Reagan said Fraser was still affiliated with an outlaw motorcycle gang but declined to say which one.

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