An off-duty Modesto police officer was involved in a fatal vehicle vs bicyclist crash, according to the Modesto Police Department.
According to a Facebook post from CHP - Modesto, the accident occurred around 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, along Merle Avenue. The victim, 38, of Modesto, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Family and friends of Modesto Police Sergeant Michael Pershall continue to grieve his loss the day after a tragic fatal vehicle collision," police officials wrote in a press release.
CHP's investigation determined Matthew Gibbs, 32, of Modesto, was driving westbound in a Volkswagen, when he struck Pershall on his bicycle, ejecting him in the process. Gibbs' vehicle then jumped a curb, struck a fire hydrant and came to a stop.
CHP believe alcohol and/or drugs appear to have been a factor in this collision.
Gibbs was taken into custody by CHP after he displayed signs of impairment. He was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail. No charges were listed in the press release.
Pershall was a 9-year veteran in law enforcement, serving four years in Tuolumne County as a sheriff deputy before joining the Modesto Police Department. He had recently been promoted to Police Sergeant on Aug. 8.
As a canine handler, Pershall was active in the department’s community outreach, providing canine demonstrations to schools and youth organizations, police said. His most recent outing with his canine partner “Ike” involved visiting several block parties at this year’s National Night Out.
"Mike's loss creates a tremendous void within our organization and within our hearts of those he touched," said Chief Galen Carroll. "We are forever grateful for the moments we shared with him."
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