Tragedy strikes family again

By Union Democrat staff July 25, 2013 12:30 pm

A 26-year-old man died Wednesday morning in a motorcycle accident on Pool Station Road.

Michael Thein, of San Andreas, was killed when he crashed on his 2004 Suzuki GSX-R while trying to avoid a pickup truck that was making a left turn, according to California Highway Patrol.

CHP said Thein was driving south on Pool Station Road past Oneto Ranch in the San Andreas area at a high rate of speed about 6:40 a.m. At the same time, Michael McPhee, 32, of San Andreas, was turning left from his driveway to go north in his 2011 Chevrolet pickup.

McPhee told CHP officers he was stopped with his windows down, looked both ways and did not hear or observe any oncoming traffic before making the turn but suddenly saw the motorcyclist come over the crest of a hill, the report stated.

Thein sharply applied his brakes to avoid a collision and skidded into the left front corner of the Chevy pickup, according to the report. He was pronounced dead at the scene, while McPhee was uninjured.

CHP Officer Rebecca Myers said the crash is still under investigation but driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was not suspected to have been a factor.

Family friend Kathey Dietrich described Michael Thein as a “hardworking kid,” “lover of life” and  “adventurer.”

Thein was also no stranger to tragedy.

His younger brother, Matthew Thein, is currently in Folsom Prison serving an 11-year sentence after pleading no-contest to vehicular manslaughter two years ago in connection with a 2010 collision that killed his and Michael Thein’s father and their father’s girlfriend.

Dietrich was comforting Thein’s grandmother, Lucy Thein, a former member of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, who was at her home Wednesday but didn’t want to be interviewed so soon after her grandson’s death.