Man arrested after fatal early Monday morning hit and run collision

On Monday, May 3rd, 2021, at approximately 12:35 am, the Turlock Police Department received a call of an injury hit and run vehicle collision in front of Turlock Auto Parts located at 430 Lander Ave where a pickup truck had struck a bicycle and fled the scene. Officers responded along with American Medical Response and the Turlock Fire Department’s Battalion 4, Engine 31, and Squad 32.

While officers were responding to the scene, a caller reported that they were following the pickup westbound on Fulkerth Rd leaving town at high rates of speed. That caller continued to follow the pickup northbound on Crows Landing Rd until it rolled over near W Taylor Rd. The caller then reported that the driver leg bailed through a field in the area. Officers saturated the area and set up a perimeter but were unable to locate him.

Meanwhile, back at the original scene, the bicyclist, who was later identified as Juan Moralez, 50, of Turlock, was down on the ground not breathing. Paramedics and firefighters attempted to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful in their efforts. He was pronounced deceased upon arrival at a local area hospital.

Throughout the course of the investigation, officers were able to identify the driver of the pickup as Francisco Javier Castellon-Gonzalez, 22, of Modesto. Castellon-Gonzalez was contacted and agreed to go to the Police Department for an interview. After the interview, Castellon-Gonzalez was placed under arrest and booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of hit and run causing injury and vehicular manslaughter.

The preliminary investigation was a coordinated effort that lasted over 18 hours with members of the Turlock Police Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team, Special Investigations Unit, and Investigations Unit.

The investigation remains on-going. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Officer Richard Fortado at 209-664-7399 or by email at RFortado@turlock.ca.us. You can also leave an anonymous tip at the Turlock Police Department’s tip line at 209-668-5550 extension 6780 or by email at tpdtipline@turlock.ca.us.

Francisco Javier Castellon-Gonzalez

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