Two Harley riders killed Friday on Highways 33, 152

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comJuly 9, 2013 

— Two motorcyclists were killed in separate crashes over the Fourth of July weekend on Merced County's west side, the California Highway Patrol reported Monday.

The names of the victims haven't been released, pending notification of their families.

The first crash was reported at 5:18 p.m. Friday on Highway 33, north of Centinella Avenue in the Santa Nella area, according to officer Jesse Lopez.

A 31-year-old man from Sparks, Nev., was riding north on a 2011 Harley-Davidson on Highway 33. Traffic came to a stop and the motorcyclist pulled into the southbound lane to try to avoid the gridlock.

A 36-year-old man was driving south in a 1994 Toyota. He saw the motorcycle coming toward him and tried to swerve out of the way, Lopez said, but was unable to avoid a head-on collision. The motorcyclist was thrown off the bike and sustained fatal injuries.

The second crash was reported at 7:48 p.m. Friday on Highway 152, east of the Romero Visitor Center, according to the CHP.

A 60-year-old Los Banos resident was riding a 2007 Harley Davidson eastbound at 65 mph.

Witnesses said the motorcycle wobbled, and the rider was unable to maintain control. The motorcycle traveled into the center median and overturned. The CHP said the victim was tossed off the motorcycle and sustained fatal injuries.

Both riders were wearing helmets.

DUI is not suspected as a factor in either crash, the CHP reported.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@merced

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