HUGHSON — The stepson of Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson was killed in a car accident Tuesday afternoon.
Turlock resident Andrew G. Richardson, 23, died when the Jeep he was driving hit the car in front of him and rolled onto a canal bank just outside of Hughson. Richardson, who went socially by the last name of Jackson, graduated from Oakdale High School in 2007, and was studying to be an auto mechanic at Modesto Technical College.
Jackson, who has been Turlock police chief since February 2012, said funeral services have not been fully planned yet.
"We're devastated. He was a wonderful person," Jackson said. "Anyone who knew him loved him. He was a great kid."
According to California Highway Patrol officer Eric Parsons, Richardson was driving a Jeep east on Hatch Road west of Santa Fe Avenue when the vehicle hit the rear right side of a silver Honda about 4:20 p.m.
The driver of the Honda, 36-year-old Michael Argento of Oakdale, told police he saw the Jeep in his rearview mirror coming up behind him at a high rate of speed. Parsons said Richardson took evasive action, swerving onto a dirt shoulder but clipping the Honda.
The Jeep rolled onto the embankment and Richardson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Argento suffered minor injuries.
Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the accident, Parsons said. The CHP is investigating the crash.
Many who knew Richardson said he was a smart, funny person. Friend Zac Stout, 22, first met Richardson when they were in youth football together in Oakdale. Richardson went on to play football and basketball at Oakdale High.
"He was real caring, he would do anything for anybody," Stout said. "He absolutely loved his little brother. He loved his parents. He was smart and athletic. He is someone it's so surreal you lost. He was everybody's friend. If you didn't know him, you wanted to get to know him."
Stout moved to Oklahoma nine months ago, but the friends remained in touch. He said he last spoke with Richardson on Saturday when they'd discussed working on Stout's car together. Stout messaged him Monday night, but had not heard back.
After graduating, Richardson and Stout worked together for a communications company installing fiber optic cables and Wi-Fi systems. Stout said he plans to fly back to California to attend his friend's funeral.
Richardson, who lived with his family in Turlock, is survived by his stepfather Robert Jackson, his mother Melinda Jackson and a younger brother, Eric Jackson.
In April, Robert Jackson took an extended medical leave to receive treatment for an undisclosed condition. He returned to work in July.