Hit-and-run driver arrested for killing 22-year-old bicyclist in Merced County

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The California Highway Patrol responded to a hit and run crash in Merced, not far from El Captain High School.

Jennifer Villasenor, who also lives near the scene, heard the collision.

"I was just standing on the porch back here and heard the boom, looked up, and honestly, it just looked like something in front of the car exploded," she said.

The CHP says 64-year-old Michael Harris, who lives in Ventura County, hit a bicyclist before driving away from the crash Monday night.

The bicyclist was traveling westbound on Bellevue Road approaching Utah Street.

Harris' vehicle was going in the same direction when he hit the bicyclist from behind.

According to investigators, the bike rider landed on the front of Harris' vehicle, went over the roof and was thrown into the roadway.

The CHP says Harris then drove away without stopping.

"Luckily, we had a license plate at the scene, which assisted us with the investigation," says Luis Lara with CHP. "We ultimately located the party in the Bakersfield area, and we ended up arresting them for the collision."

Harris was booked into the Merced County Jail on manslaughter and fatal hit-and-run charges.

The area where the young man was riding does not have bike lanes. Villasenor says she thinks the road needs to be safer.

"You wait too long," she said. "How many more accidents? How many more lives? Because we can't right widen the road, it just it doesn't seem right."

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