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Patriot Guard rider killed, another injured on way to officer’s funeral

A Patriot Guard Rider from Louisiana has died and another has been injured in a motorcycle accident as they traveled to Brookhaven to pay their respects to a fallen Brookhaven police officer.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M spokesman Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry said the accident occurred on the northbound side of I-55 near the Bogue Chitto exit Wednesday morning. One of the riders was taken to King’s Daughters Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The second rider was airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and his condition is unknown.

MHP Troop K Public Affairs Officer Chase Elkins said the riders were identified as Kenneth D. Deroche, 66, of Franklinton, who was riding a red 2003 Kawasaki motorcycle, and Martin R. “Bob” Walton Jr. 73, also of Franklinton, who was riding a black 2006 Yamaha motorcycle. Walton lost control of his motorcycle and was ejected. Deroche then lost control of his motorcycle and was ejected. Elkins said.

Deroche was pronounced dead at King’s Daughter Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash, Elkins said. Walton was flown to University of Mississippi Medical Center with serious injuries. Both motorcycle operators were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Fortenberry said the accident remains under investigation. It is not clear what caused the accident, he said.

The riders appear to have been headed into Brookhaven to take part in the services for Brookhaven police officer James White, 35, who was killed in the line of duty Saturday morning.