Arrest made in hit-and-run death near Ceres

pguerra@modbee.comNovember 13, 2012 

— The search for a suspect in a hit-and-run that killed a 53-year-old man last week ended late Sunday when officers found him hiding in the back of a car.

According to California Highway Patrol officer Eric Parsons, officers found Patrick Michael Denny, 41, in the car driven by a woman in front of a home in Modesto.

Officers with the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force, with help from the CHP's central division investigations unit, had an idea of his whereabouts, Parsons said.

"They had good information from witnesses and evidence he was going to be with the female driver that was driving him around," Parsons said. He was taken into custody at 9:50 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities had been looking for Denny since the Thursday afternoon incident on Keyes Road that killed Stan Hyer, who had given chase to people he spotted dumping garbage on his family's rural property south of Ceres. Trash dumping is a longtime problem in Stanislaus County's rural areas.

Hyer got on an all-terrain vehicle and drove through a field to cut off the truck and trailer of the dumpers, while a friend called Hyer's father and told him to come down the other way.

Norman Hyer passed the truck and trailer, still spewing garbage, on Crows Landing Road. Then he found his son, who apparently had left his ATV and been struck by the truck.

Stan Hyer died at the scene.

Denny was booked at Stanislaus County Jail on Monday on charges of murder, forgery and resisting arrest. Parsons said he did not know whether the charge of resisting arrest came from hiding in the car or struggling with officers who found him.

Denny has no bail. He has a long list of arrests on suspicion of drug possession, counterfeiting and possession of stolen property. According to Sheriff Adam Christianson, Denny last had been arrested in June and released in July.

Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.

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