Crime

Merced County motorcyclist killed in multiple collisions was devout man, family says

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Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased in California in 2016, according to an Office of Traffic Safety report.

A motorcyclist who was killed on a Merced County road after a series of collisions with a dog and a suspected drunk driver, was a devout, church-going man, and part of a Christian motorcycle club, according to family and friends.

Loved ones were devastated upon hearing the news of David Jess Ring’s death, said Raquel Camacho, a family friend who was speaking on behalf of Ring’s wife.

“He was very active with the church,” Camacho said, noting he was a devout member of This Ain’t Your Mama’s Church, a “biker’s church,” in Merced. “His life revolved around God.”

Ring, 64, was riding a 2000 Yamaha motorcycle on Valeria Avenue, about 800 feet east of Bryant Avenue, near Dos Palos doing a grocery run for his family at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, according to California Highway Patrol officers and family friends.

Officers responded to a call in the area at 10:34 p.m. about a collision that possibly involved two vehicles, CHP Los Banos Officer Shannon Stiers said.

Ring, who was identified by friends and the Merced County Coroner’s Office Monday afternoon, reportedly hit a dog on the road while he was driving, Stiers said. The collision ejected him from the motorcycle and he landed in the eastbound lanes of the road.

The dog died as a result of the collision, Stiers said.

Ring wasn’t wearing a helmet, according to CHP. However, those close to Ring claimed he was wearing a helmet, and that they found a piece of his helmet at the scene Sunday night, family friend Raquel Camacho said.

Minutes later at about 10:40 p.m., as Ring was still in the roadway, 38-year-old Dos Palos resident Leroy Leon Conley was driving a Dodge Challenger east on Valeria Avenue when he struck Ring, who sustained major injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, Stiers said.

Conley_Leroy_38_Dos Palos.jpeg
Dos Palos resident Leroy Leon Conley, 38, was arrested and booked Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, into Merced County Sheriff’s Main Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond on suspicion of driving while intoxicated with alcohol after he allegedly struck and killed a motorcyclist who was laying in the roadway after a previous collision with a dog, according to CHP. Courtesy Merced County Sheriff's Office

The Coroner’s Office determined Ring was killed “due to obvious head trauma,” Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Allen said.

It wasn’t clear if Ring was killed before or after being struck by the car, Stiers said, noting an investigation was ongoing.

Conley told officers he didn’t see anybody in the roadway, Stiers said. But officers smelled alcohol on his breath and administered a sobriety test, which he reportedly failed.

Conley was arrested and booked into Merced County Sheriff’s Main Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond on suspicion of driving while intoxicated with alcohol resulting in bodily injury, according to jail records.

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