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Oakhurst woman dies after 41 wreck

Emergency medical responders prepare to transport two people injured in a motorcycle wreck north of Oakhurst Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency medical responders prepare to transport two people injured in a motorcycle wreck north of Oakhurst Wednesday afternoon. Sierra Star

Denise Kellerhals died July 20 after she and her husband Lawrence were thrown from their motorcycle when they collided with a vehicle that pulled in front of them on Highway 41 from River Falls Road in Oakhurst.

Both Kellerhals, each 64 years old from Oakhurst, were riding a blue Harley Davidson Softail northbound on Highway 41 shortly before 1:20 p.m.

At that time, Gary Shipp, visiting his family from Texas, pulled onto the highway from River Falls Road in a gray Toyota 4-Runner SUV.

According to a CHP incident report, Shipp failed to yield the right of way to Lawrence, who was driving the motorcycle. Lawrence subsequently crashed into the front end of the Toyota, throwing both he and Denise across the highway.

Denise suffered fatal injuries while Lawrence’s injuries were described as moderate. Both were transported to Community Regional Medical Center of Fresno, with Denise airlifted by SkyLife and Lawrence by Sierra Ambulance.

Shipp, 59, was uninjured in the wreck. He was unable to assist the Kellerhals as he was partially disabled and used crutches due to previously sustained broken neck injuries. Other drivers, however, pulled over to help including Tonya Karg, a Cal Fire engineer for Fresno County.

“Here’s hoping they’re going to be okay,” Karg said at the scene.

CHP Sgt. Ethan Jackson wished to remind all drivers to remain aware of bikers, motorcyclists, and other vehicles on the roadway.

“We share the roadway with bikers and motorcyclists, which can often be harder to see,” Jackson said. “It’s important for all drivers to look for them, as well as cars, pedestrians, and other traffic while remaining cautious on the roads.”

Northbound highway drivers were diverted through the parking lot of Supreme Lending - Andrew Pence, while southbound drivers were moved into the northbound lane.

No alcohol or drugs were suspected in the crash, officers said.

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