Crime

Driver arrested in Modesto bicyclist's death

Michael Richey, 46, died Sept. 30, 2008, when a Jeep struck him on Claus Road. Richey had been riding his bicycle. The Jeep's driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.
Michael Richey, 46, died Sept. 30, 2008, when a Jeep struck him on Claus Road. Richey had been riding his bicycle. The Jeep's driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Tari Richey

Authorities identified Modesto resident Michael Richey as the bicyclist who died Tuesday evening when a sport utility vehicle struck him on a rural road east of Modesto. The SUV's driver, Craig Kyle Nelson, was arrested on suspicion of murder, driving under the influence, being under the influence of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended driver's license, according to authorities.

The investigation produced enough evidence of drug use to warrant an arrest on suspicion of murder, said officer John Martinez, a CHP spokesman. He said it will be up to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office to move ahead on a murder charge or a reduced charge. Nelson, 26, of Modesto, was being held Wednesday afternoon at the Stanislaus County Jail without bail.

Richey, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene. Nelson suffered minor injuries and was arrested after he was released from Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday on Milnes Road about two miles east of Claus Road and just east of Langworth Road.

According to the CHP, Richey was riding a red bike east on Milnes on the dirt shoulder. CHP officer Chris Wynveen said witnesses spotted Nelson driving a white 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee erratically east on Milnes. The witnesses told officers the Jeep drove onto the road's shoulder and hit Richey and his bike from behind, according to the CHP. The Jeep then swerved before it overturned and came to rest on its wheels.

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