Michigan state lawmaker killed in motorcycle accident

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A three-term state lawmaker died in a motorcycle accident Monday evening, a northern Michigan sheriff said.

Republican state Rep. Peter Pettalia was killed in an accident on M-33 South in Montmorency County, Sheriff Don Edwards told The Alpena News. Pettalia's death was also confirmed by legislative leaders.

No details about what caused the accident were immediately available. A Montmorency County sheriff's dispatcher and Michigan State Police told The Associated Press a statement would be issued later.

Rob Winkelman, Pettalia's legislative director, told The Detroit News that Pettalia had been riding his motorcycle from Alpena to Lansing for Tuesday's legislative session.

Pettalia, a longtime resident of Presque Isle, was elected to his first term in 2010. According to the biography on his House website, he and his wife, Karen, have two adult children.

Gov. Rick Snyder issued a statement saying Pettalia had a long career of service that also included work as a volunteer firefighter and a township supervisor. Snyder offered his condolences to Pettalia's family and said flags will be lowered in his honor.

GOP House Speaker Kevin Cotter called Pettalia a dear friend and longtime colleague well known for his expertise, hard work and love for the outdoors.

"His fellow Republican representatives elected him last year into a leadership position in our caucus, and everyone from both parties looked up to him as a senior member of the state House," Cotter said.

Pettalia's death comes after another state representative, Julie Plawecki of Dearborn Heights, died in June of an apparent heart attack.