The California Highway Patrol announced that a Woodland man has been arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of motorcyclist Denis Bartz Sr. near Esparto in July.
Following an investigation by the Woodland CHP office and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, a felony arrest warrant was obtained for Manuel Perez, 60. He is accused of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving while under the influence of alcohol, causing great bodily injury, according to a CHP news release. The arrest warrant was executed Wednesday.
Bartz, 61, of Knights Landing was traveling southbound on County Road 85, approaching County Road 15B north of Esparto about 6 a.m. July 31. Perez entered northbound County Road 85 from a privately owned agricultural field just south of County Road 15 B, and crossed over the double yellow lines, directly in front of Bartz, according to the CHP.
Bartz was unable to avoid Perez’s vehicle, and the front of his Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with the front of Perez’s pickup.
Ejected from his motorcycle, Bartz flew over the concrete bridge rail of an irrigation canal and struck the south embankment of the canal, suffering major trauma, according to the CHP. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
CHP officials said Perez had a detectable amount of alcohol in his system at the time of the collision and was arrested on suspicion of DUI but later released pending additional investigation. That investigation led to his arrest Wednesday.