ST. PAUL — A Woodbury nurse and mother died hours after being injured in a motorcycle crash Saturday, April 18, in St. Paul.

According to police, Diane Marie Small, 49, was riding her motorcycle about 4:30 p.m. when she hit a patch of sand while navigating a curve traveling south on Johnson Parkway near Interstate 94.

Her boyfriend, Dale Hernandez of St. Paul, told police he was riding his motorcycle behind her. He saw her skid, hit a curb and crash.

“We were going back to Woodbury where she lives,” Hernandez said. “I told her I’d follow her and go her own pace. She wanted to take the side streets because she thought it was safer.” She had been riding for about 15 years, he said.

“She hit a sand patch and loose gravel coming out of that tunnel underneath I-94,” he said. “She couldn’t regain control and got launched off the bike.”

Police arrived to find Small lying in the middle of Johnson Parkway near Hudson Road.

Small, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, appeared to have suffered a head injury, police said.

Preliminary information from officers on scene said it did not appear that alcohol or impairment played a role in the crash.

Small was transported to Regions Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She died at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to Hernandez, she loved the outdoors. She enjoyed fishing, camping, and going to concerts. She was a hockey mom and loved watching her 14-year-old son play.

“I’d never seen anybody so gracious and giving and doing selfless acts,” he said. “She was always going out of her way to help people.”