May 20, 2024


Automotive to Us

Modesto police seek witnesses to fatal Pelandale crash

Police are investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle and a car Wednesday evening at the intersection of Tully Road and Pelandale Avenue in north Modesto.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the rider of a Suzuki GSX-R750 was westbound on Pelandale approaching Tully, Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Bear said Thursday.

The other vehicle, a 2021 Nissan Versa, had been stopped at the intersection in the designated left-turn lane. The driver, 58-year-old Sangker Sinthavong, and the motorcycle collided in the intersection. The motorcyclist, who as of Thursday morning had not been positively identified, was thrown from his bike and died at the scene.

“We are still determining who had the right of way” at the intersection, which is controlled by traffic lights, Bear said. Any witnesses to the crash are asked to email the lead investigator, Officer Jorge Contreras, at [email protected]

It was the second fatal motorcycle crash in Modesto on Wednesday, and the third since Saturday.

As a general observation, not specifically about the circumstances of any of the past week’s fatal motorcycle crashes, California Highway Patrol Modesto office spokesman Officer Thomas Olsen said, “As we approach springtime, we traditionally see more motorcyclists take to the roads. We encourage all motorists to always be aware of their surroundings. Lane splitting, if done within the law, is allowed in California.”

He added that the Modesto CHP highly encourages new riders to enroll in its California Motorcyclist Safety Program.

Locally, Modesto Junior College offers the Motorcyclist Training Course and Premier Motorcyclist Training Course for beginning motorcyclists, and the 1-Day Premier Course for intermediate-level riders.

Statewide, the CMSP trains over 50,000 motorcyclists per year at over 100 training locations throughout California, Olsen said. For information about the CHP’s Learn to Ride & License Course, or register for a nearby course, go to

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Profile Image of Deke Farrow

Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.

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Lydia Gerike began covering breaking news for the Modesto Bee in February 2021. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and international studies. Lydia has previously reported as a fellow or intern at the Indianapolis Star, Hartford Courant and Oregonian.