The man who ran over and killed a rural Ceres man chasing down a man who was illegally dumping trash last year will be in court on Oct. 8 to face trial.
Authorities arrested Patrick Michael Denny, 42, after the Nov. 8, 2012 death of Stan Hyer. He was charged with murder, forgery and resisting arrest
Hyer, a 52-year-old rural Ceres farm hand, spotted a pickup and trailer and persons dumping trash on a rural walnut orchard owned by his sister and brother-in-law. A victim of trash dumping before, Hyer was determined to stop the dumping. At first he yelled and then jumped on an all-terrain vehicle and took off after the culprits. Hyer sped along a canal bank in an orchard in an attempt to catch up with the perpetrator as it headed northbound on Carpenter Road and then eastbound on Keyes Road.
Hyer's father, Norman Hyer, was telephoned and alerted by another family member in hopes of intercepting the offender. The elder Hyer told investigating California Highway Patrol officers that he saw the white 2005 GMC pickup pass him as garbage continued to fall from the trailer it was pulling.
Something horribly went wrong on Keyes Road between Carpenter and Ustick roads. Evidence indicates that Hyer dismounted his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and was hit by the pickup. The driver took off, last seen on Crows Landing Road.
Hyer's lifeless body was found about 30 yards from his ATV.
Denny has a criminal record that includes drug violations, stolen property and counterfeiting. He also has a long history of driving without a license, insurance and failing to stop at a stop sign. He was also in court for being a felon in possession of ammunition, receiving stolen property and obtaining credit through identity fraud.
Hyer's family has been a part of the Westport community for approximately 70 years. Stan's grandfather Elmer Hyer helped start the Westport Volunteer Fire Department. Hyer was given a job on family property after he had straightened himself out from a life of drugs. He was known to keep the orchard in immaculate condition, said one family member.
Stan's death was the third loss of a child endured by his mother, Wilda Hyer. A daughter died at three days old while Nathan Hyer, 25, died while attending a Bible college. Her sole surviving child is son Warren Hyer.
Family members say they plan to be at the trial and want to make sure that Denny does not receive a sentence like the 18-month sentence handed to Larry Dale Duke who was the driver who ran over and killed a Mae Hensley Junior High School student on Feb. 9, 2011.