- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - A 61-year-old Oregon man whose pickup truck slammed into a group of motorcyclists from Germany who were heading to Yellowstone National Park in northern Wyoming, killing three, was charged with misdemeanor homicide by vehicle on Friday.

Manuel Moreno Defuentes, of Ontario, Oregon, was being held in the Park County Detention Center in Cody, according to court officials.

Circuit Judge Bruce Waters set bail at $25,000 cash and set a preliminary hearing for Aug. 8. Defuentes doesn’t have an attorney yet. Waters said a public defender will be appointed to represent Defuentes.

The wreck occurred about 12:15 p.m. Thursday when a pickup truck crossed the center line of U.S. Highway 14-16-20 west of Cody and crashed into a group of motorcyclists about 25 miles from the entrance to Yellowstone, according to patrol Capt. Tom Pritchard.

Defuentes was traveling alone in a 2003 GMC pickup and was “in the process of negotiating a right hand curve in the roadway, which he fails to properly negotiate, so he crosses into the oncoming traffic lane,” Pritchard said.

Two men and one woman were killed. Three others were injured and were in stable condition at a hospital in Billings, Montana, Pritchard said.

The names of the victims were not immediately released.

Pritchard said it was a complicated process notifying relatives in a foreign country.

The accident remains under investigation.

“It just seems to be figuring out why he crossed over into the other lane,” Pritchard said.

The section of highway where the wreck occurred has a 50 mph speed limit.

Defuentes was traveling to Cody to pick up his ex-wife, Pritchard said.

Defuentes recently had an “abdominal type” surgery and had been prescribed pain medication, but whether that played any role in the accident hasn’t been determined, he said.

The group from Germany consisted of nine people who had flown into Denver, where they rented six motorcycles, he said.

“They were head to the park to do a quick tour and then back to Cody,” Pritchard said.

Two of three who died were on one motorcycle, while the third was riding alone, he said.

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Information from: The Cody Enterprise, http://www.codyenterprise.com

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