DUI cited in Merced County hit-and-run

Sunday collision injures motorcyclist, 36

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comMay 18, 2013 

A Merced motorcyclist is in critical condition after a head-on collision with a car during the weekend, the California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday.

The crash happened around 8:35 p.m. Sunday on Highway 140, west of Quinley Avenue. Alcohol was a factor in the crash, according officer Jason Schoonhoven.

Merced resident Joel Partida, 45, was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Tracker west on Highway 140 at about 45 miles per hour. He tried to pass a slower car ahead by moving into the eastbound lane.

Partida crashed head-first into a 1986 Kawasaki motorcycle traveling east at 45 mph, Schoonhoven said.

The driver of the motorcycle, Octavio Tobilla, 36, tried swerving to miss the car, but was struck by the front of the truck, and was thrown from his motorcycle, according to Schoonhoven.

Following the collision, Partida made a U-turn and fled the scene. After his truck stopped running, Partida fled on foot, according to a CHP report.

Partida was identified by officers as the driver of the Tracker and later turned himself in, Schoonhoven said. He was taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, then arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

Tobilla suffered major injuries and was flown to a Modesto-area hospital, then to Davis Medical Center for treatment.

The crash is under investigation.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com.

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