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Turlock man charged for fatal collision

A Turlock man was arrested Monday following a fatal collision that claimed the life of an Atwater man.

Ernest Valenzuela, 49, of Turlock was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on suspicion of felony hit and run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, said CHP spokesman Officer Tom Olsen.

The deceased was identified as 50-year-old Atwater resident Joey Branco.

The collision was reported shortly before 2 a.m. Monday on Lander and Greenway avenues.

Valenzuela was driving a 2000 Volkswagen sedan southbound on Lander Avenue, approaching the intersection with Greenway.

The Atwater man was driving a 2001 Yamaha motorcycle northbound on Lander.

Valenzuela made a left turn onto Greenway, directly in front of the motorcycle, according to the CHP.

The two vehicles collided and the impact threw the Atwater man off the motorcycle and onto the road. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Valenzuela left the scene of the collision before the CHP arrived. About 40 minutes after the collision Valenzuela let authorities know he had been involved in the crash.

It’s not believed alcohol or drugs were factors in the collision.