Authorities have arrested the man they say ran a truck into a Keyes area farmer during a pursuit and possible confrontation over the illegal dumping of trash on a rural Keyes Road property last week.
Based on evidence, authorities arrested Patrick Michael Denny, 41, as the prime suspect in Thursday's fatal hit and run. Denny has a criminal record that includes drug violations, stolen property and counterfeiting. On Monday he was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on charges of murder, forgery and resisting arrest.
Stan Hyer, 52, of Ceres, died from injuries after being struck by a truck thought to be driven by Denny.
The incident began when Hyer spotted people dumping trash from a truck on his property. He began hollering for the dumpers to stop before jumping on his farm all-terrain vehicle and chasing after them. Family members reported that Hyer was frustrated with the frequent dumping of trash on his property and that he was determined to stop the culprits this time.
Hyer sped along a canal bank in an orchard in an attempt to catch up with the perpetrators as they headed northbound on Carpenter Road and then eastbound on Keyes Road. His father, Norman Hyer, was telephoned and alerted by another family member in hopes of intercepting the offenders. He told the California Highway Patrol that he saw the white 2005 GMC pickup pass him as garbage continued to fall out of the trailer it was pulling.
Since the ATV showed no signs of a collision and nobody reported seeing how Hyer was struck, authorities speculated that Hyer got off his ATV and ran to the passing truck where he was struck by the vehicle.
The driver, believed to be Denny, continued on his way without stopping. Hyer's body was found about 30 yards from the ATV on Keyes Road between Carpenter and Ustick roads.