Weekend marred by fatal Motorcycle crashes

July 8, 2013 

Two motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes over the Fourth of July weekend on Merced County's west side, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The names of the victims haven't been released, pending notification of their families or next-of-kin.

The first crash was reported at 5:18 p.m. Saturday on Highway 33, north of Centinella Avenue in the Santa Nella area, according to Officer Jesse Lopez. A 31-year-old man from Sparks, Nev. was riding a 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle northbound on Highway 33. After traffic came to a stop, the motorcyclist pulled into the opposing lane to avoid the traffic.

A 36-year-old man was driving a 1994 Toyota southbound on the highway. The driver of the Toyota saw the motorcycle traveling toward him and tried to swerve out of the way, Lopez said.

The driver of the Toyota was unable to avoid a head-on crash with the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was ejected from the Harley Davidson and sustained fatal injuries.

The other crash was reported at 7:48 p.m. Saturday on eastbound Highway 152, east of the Romero Visitor Center. A 60-year-old Los Banos resident was riding a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle in No. 1 eastbound lane of the highway at 65 mph.

Witnesses said the motorcycle began to wobble, and the rider was unable to maintain control. The motorcycle traveled into the center median and overturned, ejecting the rider. The rider sustained fatal injuries.

Both riders were wearing helmets. DUI is not suspected as a factor in either crash.

-- Sun-Star staff

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