A Thursday evening crash claimed the life of a 34-year-old motorcycle rider as he was heading north on Highway 99 in Ceres.
The fatal collision occurred against the center concrete median at approximately 5 p.m. The rider, Denver Carlson of Modesto, was thrown from his 2014 Harley-Davidson Road King, which burst into flames, near the Hatch Road off ramp.
Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that Carlson was traveling at about 60 mph when rush hour traffic began slowing abruptly and he veered to the left and lost control. The motorcycle went down, grinding across the road surface and created sparks which ignited the fuel.
Carlson sustained head trauma was rushed to Doctors Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Officers said he was wearing a "skull cap" type of helmet.
The crash and investigation resulted in significant traffic backup that stretched all the way to Turlock.