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The Clarence motorcyclist who died Wednesday when he crashed into an oncoming car while being pursued by a state trooper had only a permit to operate a motorcycle, not a license, law enforcement authorities told The Buffalo News on Thursday.

Patrick Conway, 18, a senior at Clarence High School who was looking forward to joining the Marines in August, was pulled over Wednesday morning by a trooper on Main Street in Clarence for not having a rear license plate on the high-performance motorcycle.

When the trooper got out of his vehicle to approach Conway, the teen sped off and ultimately smashed into a BMW on the other side of the road. Conway was killed instantly. The driver of the BMW was uninjured.

People 18 or over must first obtain a permit before getting a license to operate a motorcycle, explained State Police Sgt. David Martek, who is a traffic supervisor. Martek could not comment on the investigation into Conway’s death. But he explained that there is no waiting period for people 18 or over seeking the license.

The permit “allows you to practice driving,” Martek said.

People with permits can operate motorcycle only “in the immediate proximity” of a driver who is at least 21 and has a valid motorcycle license.

Operating a motorcycle unsupervised without being accompanied would be considered the same as unlicensed driving, Martek said.

email: mbecker@buffnews.com