A 22-year-old Sonora man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early Sunday morning after a crash on his Harley Davison motorcycle resulted in the death of his passenger, a 22-year-old Sonora woman.

The passenger was identified as Mary MacKenzie Suess, who was the 2017 Mother Lode Roundup Queen.

The driver of the 1993 Harley Davidson motorcycle drove through a stop sign while turning from Longeway Road toward westbound Phoenix Lake Road at about 12:35 p.m., the CHP said.

The motorcycle fell onto its left side in the turn, causing the driver, Gavin Daniel Rodgers, and the woman to be ejected.

Officials do not know yet how fast the motorcycle was going, CHP o fficer Steve Machado said.

The motorcycle was turning toward downtown Sonora.

The woman, who was wearing a helmet, died at the scene, the CHP said.

Rodgers, who was not wearing a helmet, sustained minor injuries.

Rodgers was booked into Tuolumne County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and driving under the influence of alcohol causing death.

His bail was set at $100,000. He remained in the custody of the Tuolumne County Jail as of Monday afternoon.

His occupation was identified as a groundsman.

Machado said officers were able to interview Rodgers at the scene before he was transferred to Adventist Health - Sonora.

Machado said Rodgers’ statements at the scene were not being released at this time.

The CHP was not releasing Rodgers’ blood alcohol content, Machado said.

Machado said he was not sure where Rodgers and the woman were coming from before the collision.

Machado said the crash remains under investigation and he was awaiting additional information from investigating officers who worked an overnight shift.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.




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