Crime - Sacto 911

Motorcyclist seriously injured in crash during Nevada County pursuit

A motorcyclist, who was later determined to be wanted on a felony warrant, suffered major injuries Wednesday morning when he crashed after leading a California Highway Patrol officer on a pursuit in Nevada County.

The incident began about 11:25 a.m. when a CHP officer was working as part of a highway maintenance project on Highway 20, west of Melody Road, in the Penn Valley area. The officer saw an off-road Honda motorcycle approaching eastbound at a high rate of speed. As the motorcycle passed his location, the officer noticed that it was missing license plates and other equipment required to legally operate on the highway, according to a CHP news release.

The officer caught up with the motorcycle and attempted to make a traffic enforcement stop, but the motorcycle rider, later identified as 48-year-old Duke J. Charlesworth of Smartville, failed to yield. Charlesworth instead turned onto Melody Road and fled at high speed, according to the CHP.

The officer pursued Charlesworth for approximately one mile, from Melody Road to Big Oak Drive. Charlesworth continued to flee, traveling about 65 mph. He made a left turn onto Shepard Road, but lost control of the motorcycle.

The motorcycle struck a fence and Charlesworth was ejected. He was thrown through the air over the top of the motorcycle, then through a fence. Although Charlesworth sustained significant injuries in the crash, he got up and fled on foot, CHP officials said. The CHP officer continued the pursuit on foot until Charlesworth collapsed a short distance from the crash site and was taken into custody.

Emergency medical personnel and the Penn Valley Fire Department responded, and Charlesworth was taken to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley. Because of his worsening condition, he was then taken by air ambulance to a regional medical center, where he remains in CHP custody, officials said.

The CHP is handling the arrest and crash investigation. Charlesworth was determined to be wanted for a felony arrest warrant from Yuba County, according to the CHP. He was also arrested on suspicion of felony and misdemeanor offenses of reckless evading of a peace officer, resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.