On the evening of Friday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m., Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputies assigned to Patterson Police Services responded to a solo motorcycle collision at South Salado Avenue and South second Street in Patterson. When deputies arrived on scene they found 44 year old Henry Zepeda Chavez of Patterson, unresponsive and not breathing..
Deputies began life saving efforts until emergency medical personnel arrived. Chavez was pronounced deceased on scene by emergency medical personnel. Deputies requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol major accident investigation team to conduct the traffic collision investigation.
Some witnesses at the scene claimed that Chavez was cut off by another vehicle as he turned on to South Salado Avenue, though CHP officer Eric Parsons said no other vehicles were involved in the collision. The report stated that Chavez was not wearing his helmet at the time of the collision. Parsons went on to say that at this time, the report does not have alcohol as a factor pending the outcome of the toxicology report, which could take four to six weeks to come back.
Chavez had been witnessed leaving the scene of some of his favorite establishments that he would regularly visit immediately prior to the accident that claimed his life. A crowd quickly gathered around the downtown scene that was taped off, waiting three hours for the coroner’s van to arrive.
By the next day, a memorial consisting of flowers, and candles could be seen collecting around the palm tree along Salado Avenue where Chavez’s body came to rest.
A candle-light vigil was held at the scene of the memorial. Following the memorial, folks were invited to The New Frontier Club, which opened for two nights specifically to raise funds for Chavez’s funeral.
"I want to thank everyone that has been contributing, the Frontier, the food, donations, water," Henry Chavez’s daughter Liza Chavez said by phone Monday.
Liza would remember her father always buying food for homeless people at the taco trucks and recalled an instance where Henry tried to help a stuck motorist by using his red Ford F-150 to try and pull him out.
"Leave it to Henry Chavez who can pull anyone out of anything. We lost our dinner reservations, but he called the tow truck for the stuck man after he realized he couldn’t get him out." Liza Chavez said.
A visitation was scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 14, while a Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, at Sacred Heart Church, with the interment to take place at the Patterson District Cemetery north of Patterson.
The California Highway Patrol is asking if anyone has any information on this traffic collision to please contact the California Highway Patrol at 209-545-7440.