A motorcycle crash after dark near Chaska left a husband and wife dead, continuing the grim pace of rider fatalities this year in Minnesota, authorities said Thursday.

The wreck occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Wednesday on County Road 11 just north of County Road 140 in Dahlgren Township, according to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.

Killed were the motorcycle’s operator, Patrick Gongoll, 40, of Norwood Young America, and his wife, Heidi Gongoll, also 40, the Sheriff’s Office said. Neither was wearing a helmet.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the motorcycle was heading south on County Road 11 when it left the road and struck a field approach. Both riders were thrown from the motorcycle.

Heidi Gongoll died at the scene. Patrick Gongoll was taken by ambulance to Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska, where he died.

There have been 36 motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota this year, according to the state’s Motorcycle Safety Center. There were 17 at this point last year. In all of 2014, there were 46 motorcycle deaths.

PAUL WALSH