A 26-year-old motorcyclist from Manteca was taken to a Modesto-area hospital for a serious head injury after he crashed into a Sonora Police Department patrol vehicle early Saturday morning on Highway 108.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Jaycee Eddie Alameda, of Manteca, crashed into the patrol car just west of the Highway 108 intersection with South Washington Street while the patrol car attempted to make a U-turn to respond to a call for service.
“At this time it's unknown if there will be any further information to determine culpability on either parties involved,” said California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Steven Machado.
Sonora Police Officer Thomas Brickley was driving the patrol vehicle, the CHP reported.
About 12:30 a.m., Alameda was operating a 2008 Honda motorcycle at an unknown speed, traveling westbound on Highway 108, west of the intersection with South Washington Street.
Alameda was approaching a location where Brickley had been assisting another Sonora police officer with a traffic stop, Machado said.
According to a CHP press release, Brickley was parked on the right shoulder of westbound Highway 108 with his rear amber warning lights on. Brickley activated the patrol vehicle’s blue and red emergency lights when he was dispatched to a call for service.
When Brickley attempted to make the U-turn into the eastbound lane of Highway 108, Alameda was unable to avoid a collision, a CHP press release said.
Alameda’s motorcycle collided with the left side of the patrol vehicle.
Machado said Alameda suffered major head trauma and was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for treatment.
Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel was not available for comment, but released a press release, saying the collision was a tragic event and expressed hope for the full recovery of the motorcyclist.
Alameda was listed in serious condition at Doctors Medical Center on Monday, said Krista Deans, spokesperson for the hospital.
“Our officer suffered minor injuries and is home recovering from the physical and emotional effects from the incident,” the Sonora Police press release stated.
The CHP is seeking to determine the speeds of the vehicles when the accident occurred, as well as the distance between the vehicles when Brickley activated his emergency lights and began the U-turn.
Machado said it was not considered an illegal maneuver for any driver — civilian or law enforcement — to make a U-turn at that location over the double-yellow dividing line between the westbound and eastbound lanes.
“As long as a turning movement does not affect traffic and it can be done safely, then the U-turn can be made,” Machado said. “However, I would strongly encourage moving farther westbound to make that U-turn.”
Machado said it was undetermined if alcohol was a factor in the accident.
Machado said the involvement of an on-duty law enforcement officer would not affect the investigation.
“We investigate the collision the same as it would be with any other collision,” Machado said.
Brickley was introduced as the department’s newest police officer on June 3 via the Sonora Police Department Facebook page.
According to a memorandum to the mayor and city council from Feb. 19, Brickley graduated from the San Joaquin Delta Police Academy on Feb. 13. He then began a 14-week field training program, which typically involves shadowing a sworn peace officer with the department.
According to the memorandum, Brickley was previously employed as a ski patrol protection leader at Dodge Ridge Ski Resort and as a security officer with the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians Tribal Security.
The memorandum added he obtained his EMT certification from the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians Fire Department and served with the Manteca District Ambulance - Tuolumne Division.
In 2017, Brickley served as a community service volunteer and was an advisor for the Police Explorer Program.
The memorandum cited riding motorcycles among Brickley’s outdoor interests.