A motorcycle from Minnesota struck a deer in northeastern North Dakota after dark, pitching the operator to his death and badly injuring his passenger, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 10:30 p.m. Saturday on County Road 9, about 1½ miles east of Cavalier, according to the North Dakota State Patrol.

Killed was Kenneth Letexier, 50, of East Grand Forks. His wife, 47-year-old Pamela Letexier, was hospitalized in Grand Forks with serious injuries.

Neither had on a helmet, the patrol said. Only minors are required to wear a helmet in North Dakota.

According to the patrol:

The motorcycle was heading west on County Road 9 when it hit a deer in the road. The motorcycle veered into a ditch, tossing both riders to the ground, the patrol said. Kenneth Letexier died at a hospital in Cavalier.