Widow of motorcyclist killed wants witnesses to come forward

The crash happened in September near 81st and Maple.
The family of a motorcyclist killed in a September 2022 crash near 81st and Maple is still looking for answers in the crash that claimed his life.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:26 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A lifelong love of motorcycles is why loved ones say 71-year-old Ira Burks had the experience to never take it easy when riding in traffic.

“They ran him off the road and that’s why he went into the mailbox,” said Sandra Burks, Ira’s widow. “He was a perfect driver, he wouldn’t have run off the road. I’m telling you, my husband was a perfect driver.”

Riding east on Maple about 11 p.m. on a Saturday night last September, Ira Burks died when his motorcycle left the roadway. Medical issues were ruled out as the cause of death, listed as blunt-force injuries.

Omaha Police investigators immediately started looking for video evidence that might tell them the story of why this motorcyclist crashed -- and they found a camera right across the street pointed toward the scene. Two vehicles were captured on camera, but only one has the attention of investigators.

“Per a witness and other video we captured, we’re pretty sure that’s a blue Honda and that’s the vehicle we’re looking for, for that night,” said Lt. Allen Straub with OPD’s traffic unit. “I just want to ask this person what they know about the incident.”

But a high-resolution camera doesn’t always resolve a fatal crash investigation.

“The speed of all the traffic going by blurs it, so when we try to stop it, you still can’t make out the plate and you still can’t make out the driver,” Straub said.

Crash investigators shared video with the victim’s family, so they know the case is open, but facts are fuzzy about what caused the crash.

“Somebody needs to come forward, you know,” Sandra said. “They need to come forward and say what they did. You can’t just kill a man and just keep on going.”

Justice for Ira Burks’ family is why Omaha Police crash investigators remain focused on finding a vehicle of interest so that driver can provide a clearer picture of why the motorcyclist left the roadway.

The crash happened on Sep. 24 near 81st and Maple. Again, a blue Honda is a vehicle of interest, so call OPD if you have information.

The case is among 45 fatalities OPD’s traffic unit investigated last year.