The motorcyclist killed in a crash on northbound Highway 99 in Ceres on Thursday afternoon has been identified by the Stanislaus County Coroner's Office as Denver Carlson, 34, of Modesto.
Early findings in the California Highway Patrol investigation of the 5 p.m. crash near the Hatch Road off ramp are that Carlson, traveling about 60 mph in moderate traffic, came upon vehicles that were quickly slowing. "The information we have is he made an abrupt maneuver to the left and went down," said CHP Officer Ming Hsu. "The bike went onto its left side and at some point he became ejected."
Riding a 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, Carlson was closely following the vehicle directly ahead of him, the CHP collision report says.
When he lost control, the motorcycle skidded across the pavement, sparking, hitting the cement wall in the median and catching fire. Carlson came to rest in the center divide.
The cyclist suffered significant head trauma, Hsu said, and the coroner will determine the cause of death. The officer said Carlson was wearing a "skull cap"-style helmet not approved by the federal Department of Transportation.
He was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Traffic was backed up to Turlock while officers investigated the crash. The No. 1 lane was closed from about 5:10 to 6:30 p.m.
Officers continue to interview witnesses to the crash, Hsu said. Anyone with information is urged to call the Modesto Area CHP office at 209-545-7440.