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Modesto Police Department
Wednesday August 23rd, 2017 :: 12:02 p.m. PDT


Modesto Police Officer killed in off-duty traffic collision identified

Release Date: August 23, 2017
Modesto Police Department
Media Relations Unit
Office of the Chief of Police
600 10th Street, Modesto, CA 95354

Modesto, CA – Family and friends of Modesto Police Sergeant Michael Pershall continue to grieve his loss the day after a tragic fatal vehicle collision.

On Tuesday evening, 38-year-old Michael Pershall was off-duty and riding his bicycle along Merle Avenue near Savage School, when he was hit by a suspected drunk driver. California Highway Patrol officers are investigating the fatal collision and arrested the driver, 32-year-old Matthew Gibbs of Modesto for homicide and several driving under the influence related charges.

Pershall was a 9 year veteran in law enforcement, serving 4 years in Tuolumne County as a sheriff deputy before joining the Modesto Police Department in 2012.

Pershall quickly proved he was a dedicated professional who cared about the community and youth. During his time with the Modesto Police Department Sergeant Pershall served as a Canine Handler, Field Training Officer, Police Explorer Advisor and negotiator for the Critical Incident Team. As a Field Training Officer, Pershall was instrumental in training and mentoring new officers, teaching them the fundamentals of being a public servant and guardian to the community. Pershall also volunteered as an advisor for the Police Explorer Program, which is a mentoring and development program for youth between the ages of 15 and 21. Pershall led by example and was a positive role model for the new and young members of the department.

As a canine handler, Pershall was actively engaged with the department’s community outreach and provided countless canine presentations and demonstrations to community groups, schools and youth organizations. His most recent outing with his canine partner “Ike” involved visiting several block parties at this year’s National Night Out.

Pershall was recently promoted to Police Sergeant on August 8th and was beginning his new chapter as a frontline supervisor and leader within the organization.

“Mike’s loss creates a tremendous void within our organization and within the hearts of those he touched” said Chief Galen Carroll. “We are forever grateful for the moments we shared with him”.

ATTENTION MEDIA: Any questions related to the criminal investigation will be handled by Public Information Officer Tom Olsen with the California Highway Patrol at (209) 545-7440.

Modesto Police Department
600 10th St
Modesto, CA 95354

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 209-572-9500

Heather Graves
Media Relations Unit

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