Fatal Drunk Driving Accident in Modesto


Fatal Drunk Driving Accident in Modesto

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto Car Accident Lawyer. On Tuesday night, August 22, 2017, a member of the Modesto Police Department was hit by a car while he was riding his bicycle nearby his home. The driver of the car appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, 38-year old police sergeant Michael Pershall did not survive the impact of the car.

Accident Information

California Highway Patrol (CHP) spokesman Thomas Olsen announced that the accident was reported shortly after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Officer Pershall was riding his bicycle west following along the north edge of Merle Avenue, nearby to Daniel J. Savage Middle School. Pershall was in a westbound lane at the time he was fatally hit from behind by a Volkswagen Coupe, and the driver of the car has been identified as 32-year old Matthew Gibbs.  Moments before the accident, Gibbs had been driving his coupe heading west down Merle when he crashed into the rear of the sergeant’s bike. The sergeant was ejected off of his bicycle, and Gibbs drove onto the north curb before he hit a fire hydrant. His car came to a stop around the north shoulder of Merle Avenue. CHP reported that emergency personnel arrived at the scene and tried everything possible, but they were unable to save the life of officer Michael Pershall. The recently promoted sergeant was off-duty when he was struck and killed by the car.


Investigators stayed on the scene for several hours following the traffic collision; officers of the Modesto Police Department were joined by Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies. Volkswagen Coupe driver Matthew Gibbs was found at the scene, and he appeared to show signs of intoxication. After he showed clear signs of impairment, Gibbs was arrested by the CHP and taken into custody for driving under the influence. He was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail, and he is currently being held without bail.  He is expected to face numerous felony charges, including DUI.

Community Tragedy

As soon as the tragic accident was called in, the CHP immediately dispatched emergency responders to the scene of the collision. CHP Spokesman Thomas Olsen said that “Emergency personnel did everything they could to save his life but he succumbed to his injuries.” Michael Pershall was a nine year veteran in the field of law enforcement. Prior to joining the Modesto Police Department in 2012, he had served with Tuolumne County Sheriff’s office.

We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones, co-workers and friends of Michael Pershall.

Modesto Car Accident Lawyer & Wrongful Death Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto Car Accident Lawyer. Collisions can have terrible consequences that will permanently impact your life. If you or anyone you know has been killed or seriously injured in a car accident, please dial (209) 227-1931 for free, friendly advice. I can also be reached by dialing the toll free number (800) 404-5400.

I have thirty five years of personal experience in handling cases of traumatic injury and wrongful death.

You can check out some of my client reviews and ratings on the following webpages:

I am glad to be a California Million Dollar Advocates Forum Attorney. This group represents top-rated United States trial lawyers that have won/settled cases with values of a million dollars or higher.

My website,, is one of the most informative personal injury websites in all of Northern California. You can also check out some of my past verdicts and settlements.

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