UPDATE Authorities on Wednesday afternoon identified the dead bicyclist as a Modesto man, Michael Richey. For details, click the link in the box at right.
A man riding a bicycle died Tuesday evening when a sport utility vehicle apparently struck him from behind on a rural road east of Modesto, according to the California Highway Patrol.
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The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators were trying to determine his identity late Tuesday. The man was riding a red bike, possibly a 10-speed, east on Milnes Road. Stanislaus County coroner officials were examining the bicycle for a serial number to determine the man's identity.
The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. about two miles east of Claus Road and just east of Langworth Road. CHP officer Chris Wynveen said witnesses spotted a white Jeep Grand Cherokee driving erratically east on Milnes, driving on the road's shoulder and in the oncoming lane.
At the same time, the bicyclist was riding in the same direction but it was unclear whether he was riding on the road's shoulder or on the eastbound lane. Wynveen said it appeared the Jeep hit the bicyclist from behind.
The bike was found with a damaged rear wheel on the road's south shoulder next to a utility pole. Next to the bicycle was a bike helmet. The bicyclist was found on the eastbound lane about 50 feet east of the bike. The Jeep came to a stop facing a southwesterly direction in the front yard of a ranch house, about 100 feet from the bicyclist.
The Jeep's driver was taken by ambulance to a Modesto hospital. His name, age and the extent of his injuries were not available Tuesday night. Wynveen said officials would be checking the driver's blood alcohol level to determine whether alcohol was a factor.