KEYES -- Stan Hyer had had enough.
So when he spotted someone dumping garbage again on his family's rural property west of Keyes on Thursday, the 52-year-old jumped on an all-terrain vehicle as they drove away.
"He hollered at them and took off after them," said Wilda Hyer, Stan Hyer's mother.
According to the friend who was with him, Hyer drove through a field to cut off the dumpers as they headed north on Carpenter and then east on Keyes.
The friend called Norman Hyer, Stan's father, who drove his own truck down Crows Landing Road in an attempt to head off the perpetrators. He saw a truck with a trailer, still spewing garbage, heading toward him.
"They were booking it," Norman Hyer said.
He didn't know then that the truck apparently had just hit his son, who had left his ATV and, apparently, tried to confront the suspects on Keyes Road.
Hyer died at the scene.
Investigators are looking for the driver of the truck, a 2005 white GMC pickup, identified by authorities as Patrick Denny, 41. Denny has a long list of prior arrests for drug possession, counterfeiting and possession of stolen property. According to Sheriff Adam Christianson, Denny last was arrested in June and released in July.
California Highway Patrol spokesman officer Eric Parsons said he could not confirm Denny is the suspect.
"I talked to our investigators," Parsons said. "They are searching for a person of interest and looking for a white truck and trailer."
It was far from the first time someone discarded garbage on the Hyers' property. Norman Hyer estimated it happens at least once a month.
"Illegally dumped trash throughout the county is an overwhelming problem," Christianson said in an email. "So much so that we've added four roadside work crews that do nothing but pick up illegally dumped trash, graffiti abatement, beautification projects and landscaping."
As reported in a Bee editorial last weekend, the program has picked up more than 110,000 pounds of trash since the program started in July.
"The level of disrespectful conduct and behavior by those who dump trash and other substances which have a negative effect on our environment is disgraceful," Christianson said, pledging to do everything his department can to prosecute offenders.
The Hyers are left not knowing exactly what happened on Keyes Road to the son they and his brother, Warren, described as a handyman and former skiing enthusiast who worked off and on for area farmers, including his father.
"He tried to stop them," Norman Hyer said. "And they didn't stop."
As a visitor left the Hyer home and drove down Taylor Road, where Stan Hyer lived, Friday afternoon, a car pulled over to the shoulder.
Two people inside started throwing garbage out of the windows.
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2443. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.