ESCALON, CALIFORNIA — California Highway Patrol was investigating a traffic fatality late Saturday night following a collision involving a large sport utility vehicle and a motorcycle. Escalon Police Department was first on scene, but later turned the accident scene over to the California Highway Patrol to investigate.
The collision was reported about 10:15 p.m. on Highway 120 at Brennan Road just west of the railroad tracks. Escalon police, fire, and paramedics responded to the scene, where they found a man down about 20 feet from a crumpled motorcycle. The driver of the Suburban had fled the scene.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene moments after emergency responders arrived. The victim was an adult male and worked for the City of Stockton. He was identified as an off-duty Stockton police officer. The victim was identified this morning as Officer Justin Kepler on the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page. Officer Kepler was struck and killed while riding his personal motorcycle. Officer Kepler was hired by Stockton Police Department on April 16, 2012. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Kepler’s family and friends,” the post reads.
A dozen or more onlookers from nearby residences stood on the south and north sides of Highway 120 watching emergency personnel work around the wreckage and the victim’s covered body.
The Suburban came to rest in the eastbound lane of Highway 120 and the motorcycle on the north side of the roadway.
After identifying the registered owner of the Suburban, an Escalon police officer along with a California Highway Patrol officer went to that address and returned with one possibly intoxicated male subject. After questioning and a sobriety test, that person was handcuffed and placed into the back of a patrol car.
California Highway Patrol closed Highway 120 between Walnut Avenue and Sexton Road while investigators and evidence technicians processed the scene. That stretch of the roadway was closed and traffic was diverted into the early hours of Sunday morning.
The intersection at Highway 120 and Brennan is known to local residents to be a traffic hazard. There have been multiple traffic collisions and traffic-related injuries at this intersection. The City of Escalon would like to place a stop light at this intersection, but Caltrans controls the intersection and has resisted placing a traffic signal there.
NOTICE: The names, photos and incidents printed in WeEscalon posts/articles are obtained from the daily logs of the Escalon Police Services, San Joaquin County jail booking information and other Police agencies. THIS INFORMATION IS PUBLIC RECORD. The listing of a name, photo, incident in the WeEscalon Crime log, FaceBook page, Twitter account or on the WeEscalon Website does not imply of that person’s guilt or innocence. THIS CAN ONLY BE DETERMINED BY A COURT OF LAW.