A speeding motorcyclist ran into a mailbox on a central Minnesota road and was killed, marking the first fatality of the 2015 rider season, authorities said Monday.

The crash occurred about 6:30 p.m. Sunday on County Road 3 in northern Santiago Township, about 15 miles west of Princeton, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Dead at the scene was Neil W. Larson, 53, of Princeton, according to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. Larson did not have on a helmet, the Department of Public Safety said.

“The preliminary investigation shows speed appears to be a factor,” the department added.

Last year, the first motorcycle fatality of the season occurred March 11. The state’s earliest rider fatality of the year was Feb. 28, in 2002.

There were 44 motorcycle fatalities in the state in 2014, down from 60 in 2013.

Paul Walsh