A 50-year-old Turlock man sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a speeding vehicle while riding his bicycle Monday.
The driver fled the scene of the collision but has since been identified and arrested on a multitude of criminal charges.
The deceased was identified by the Turlock Police Department as Juan Moralez, 50, of Turlock.
Moralez was out riding on his bicycle around 12:30 a.m. Monday. As he crossed the street in the 400 block of Lander Avenue he was struck by a pickup truck.
The driver of the vehicle, later determined to be Francisco Javier Castellon-Gonzalez, 22, of Modesto fled the scene in a white 2009 GMC pickup.
The posted speed limit in the area is 35 miles per hour. Investigators have not yet determined how fast the truck was going yet, but they did say that it was faster than the posted limit.
"On early Monday morning our son, brother, father and uncle Juan Morales was crossing the road on his bike when he was struck by a vehicle who failed to stop," the family wrote on a GoFundMe account. "Because of the high speed of the driver, Juan sustained major injuries he could not recover from. Please help us, his children and family, lay him to rest. Any donation or prayer is appreciated."
The first Turlock Police officers to arrive at the scene began CPR and were soon relieved by Turlock Fire Department personnel and ambulance staff.
"Despite their best efforts, Moralez later succumbed to his injuries after being transported to a local area hospital," said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.
The suspect may have avoided arrest had it not been for a couple witnesses to the crash. As Castellon-Gonzalez drove away from the scene the witnesses followed after him in their own vehicle and attempted to get him to pull over, Parmley said.
Castellon-Gonzalez refused to stop and tried to lose the following vehicle, but instead lost control of the pickup truck and crashed on Crows Landing Road.
"Castellon-Gonzalez also fled from that collision, on foot, and was not immediately apprehended," Parmley said.
His flight however, would not last long. Investigators soon identified him as the suspected driver and contacted him about the incident. Castellon-Gonzalez agreed to come to the police department to provide a statement.
After being interviewed he was arrested and booked into Stanislaus County Jail Monday night on charges of hit and run causing injury. Investigators later added the charge of vehicular manslaughter after Moralez was removed from life support.
"This was a coordinated investigation with members of the Major Accident Investigation Team, investigators from the Special Investigation Unit and Turlock Police detectives that lasted over 18 hours, from when initial collision occurred on Monday morning," Parmley said.
The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information call Officer Richard Fortado at (209) 664-7399. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Turlock Police Department is an active participant in the Crime Stoppers Program. Callers can leave an anonymous tip by calling CrimeStoppers at (209) 521-4636 and may be eligible for a cash reward.
The GoFundMe account to help with the expenses of Juan Moralez’s funeral can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-lay-juan-morales-to-rest?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=sms&utm_source=customer