Loose gravel may have caused a motorcycle accident Thursday morning in Pekin that sent an East Peoria police officer and a motorcyclist and passenger to a hospital with reportedly minor injuries.

The officer, the other motorcyclist and the passenger had not yet been identified Thursday afternoon. 

The accident occurred at 9:08 a.m. at the intersection of South Second Street and Fayette Street. The officer was on a motorcylce escorting the St. Jude Rides that started at Walters Brothers Harley-Davidson in Peoria Thursday morning. The second motorcyclist was a part of the ride. There is a curve just prior to the accident site. 

“While negotiating a curve, the (police) motor unit’s rear tire slid out from under the motor unit possibly due to loose road gravel,” said Illinois State Police District 8 Trooper Ross Green. “The East Peoria officer was forced to lay his motorcycle down, which slid into another non-police motorcycle, also causing it to crash.” 

Green said no citations had been issued Thursday by the department, which is investigating the accident.

The St. Jude Rides event is a three-day run covering 465 miles. It began in 2007 to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and its affiliate in Peoria.

The run was founded by then-Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy and Brad Wiebler. A typical St. Jude Ride takes 150 motorcyclists with 76 passengers on the journey from Peoria to Memphis, where St. Jude is located. Satellite rides from six cities brought the total number of riders and passengers to 280, according to the ride website at stjuderides.org/peoria.

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin