July ended with yet another motorcycle fatality in Minnesota, when a Hibbing motorcyclist struck a deer on an Iron Range highway, authorities said.

Killed late Wednesday morning was Thomas L. Kotula, 65, who was riding on Hwy. 73 near Hibbing, with his wife as a passenger, according to the State Patrol. Kathryn A. Kotula, 60, was hospitalized in Duluth with serious injuries.

Neither was wearing a helmet, the patrol said.

The Kotulas were heading south on the two-lane highway shortly after 10:30 a.m., just south of Beauty Mountain Road, and “made contact with a deer, lost control” and went into the ditch, the patrol said.

July has been especially deadly this year, with 20 motorcyclists killed in the month.

Paul Walsh