A 46-year-old male Modesto man died of injuries during a solo freak accident involving his 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup on the northbound freeway off-ramp at Whitmore Avenue near the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
The incident happened at 12:54 p.m. on Sunday. Pronounced dead at the scene was driver Leodegario Mendez Gonzalez.
According to Ceres Police Traffic Officer and spokesman Freddie Ortiz, Gonzalez was at the KFC drive-thru window with his Chevrolet Silverado faced northbound when for some unknown reason he began to step out of the pickup and it rolled forward. Gonzalez hopped back in the vehicle as the pickup accelerated and glanced off the northeast corner of the fast-food restaurant, possibly slamming the door on his leg which was protruding out. The pickup then continued through the parking lot in a western direction where it ran over the curb and fence that separates the parking lot from the northbound Highway 99 off-ramp. The vehicle made a half-circular path onto the off-ramp, traveling the opposite direction until it went back through the frontage road chain-link fence onto Poplar Street and El Camino Avenue. The vehicle somehow came to a quick stop before reversing back onto the off-ramp where it smacked into a small concrete wall dividing the northbound off-ramp and on-ramp.
When police arrived they found the truck with the victim’s left leg hanging outside the closed driver’s door. Officers were unable to open the door. Officers attempted to resuscitate the man until paramedics arrived.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation and police have not ruled out drugs and/or alcohol as factors.
Ceres Police traffic unit is conducting the investigation. Anyone with information about this traffic collision is urged to contact Officer Ortiz at 538-5678.