A motorcyclist died south of Sprague Tuesday evening after riding off state Highway 23, but authorities discovered that he died from a gunshot wound to the head rather than traffic accident injuries.
Johnny H. Winter, 56, of Spokane, died at the scene of the accident on state Highway 23.
He was headed north on the highway three miles south of Sprague on a 2006 Harley Davidson FXST motorcycle when he went off the roadway striking a rock embankment. He ended up on the northbound shoulder.
Troopers responding to the accident about 8:20 p.m. discovered that he had a gunshot wound, and died from that. A firearm was found at the scene, troopers said.
The Whitman County Sheriff’s Office turned over jurisdiction for the investigation to WSP, said Troy Briggs, a spokesman for the patrol.
“There are all kinds of different scenarios,” Briggs said.
It was not known whether the gunshot occurred prior to the accident, or whether the gunfire was at the same time as the accident, he said.
“At this point, we don’t know if there is another person involved,” Briggs said.