STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A newspaper says the total number of traffic fatalities for this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota may be higher than the state's official count of four.

The Rapid City Journal counted at least nine deaths associated with the rally. The South Dakota Highway Patrol's official count only includes traffic deaths that happened within the western part of the state during the first Saturday morning of the rally through the final Sunday morning.

The patrol doesn't count fatalities that occur in eastern South Dakota or outside the Aug. 4-12 rally period.

Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan says it's difficult to determine whether an individual was headed to or from the rally when an accident occurs outside of the patrol's count method. But Mangan acknowledges that there are deaths not included that may be associated with the rally.

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