Merced driver who hit and killed cyclist claimed to have hit a deer, investigators say

Local News

Photo of Michael Harris provided by the California Highway Patrol

MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A person is dead after police say a man struck a cyclist with his vehicle Monday and then later claimed to have hit a deer.

According to California Highway Patrol officers around 8:00 p.m. a 22-year-old was cycling on Bellevue Road near Utah Street just west of UC Merced when the cyclist was struck by a vehicle traveling the same route. Investigators say the vehicle did not stop after the collision, leaving the scene.

Witnesses called police, however when first-responders arrived the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Approximately three and a half hours later Michael Harris, 62 of Santa Paula, called CHP Merced saying that he had hit a deer, according to investigators. Highway Patrol officers arrived at Harris’ location and found what they called “significant damage” on his vehicle.

Harris was arrested by officers and booked into the Merced County jail. He faces charges of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

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