What started as a day of celebration and a motorcycle ride to the mountains ended with two people being transported to the hospital.
Augie, 52, and Connie Colmenero, 42, of Fresno, along with his brother Joseph and five others, headed for the mountains on their Harleys on Monday, for a holiday weekend ride.
“We came up to enjoy the day, meet friends, be in good company,” said Joseph. “Any ride to the mountains is a good day.”
The reason for the celebration was Augie’s 24 years of sobriety.
Augie had been late to join the others for the morning ride. “We were teasing him, told him he was taking too long to put on his makeup!” said one of his buddies. “He was half-hour late, and we were gonna take off without him.”
When Augie and his wife Connie finally showed up, the group headed for the hills. They stopped in at the Chukchansi Casino for breakfast, and when they got ready to leave, Augie’s bike wouldn’t start.
“The battery cable came loose, so we were taking it apart. You have to finesse it because it’s all custom,” his friend said.
Once that problem was solved, the ride continued. But on a curve on Road 221, at the back gate to the Bonnie B Ranch, Augie’s bike caught a patch of loose dirt at the shoulder of the road, and he and Connie were both thrown to the pavement.
CHP Officer Brad Mallory got the call at 12:29 p.m., and responded to the scene at 32840 Road 221.
“She was complaining of pain to her head and had multiple abrasions on her legs and shoulders,” said Mallory. “The injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, but EMTs are concerned about her, so she will be airlifted.”
A Skylife helicopter landed at the North Fork School to medevac Connie Colmenero to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
Augie had a broken left wrist and multiple abrasions on his arms, legs and face. He was transported by Sierra Ambulance to the same hospital.
Cal Fire engine #4275 from the Rancheria was first on the scene, along with North Fork Station #11.
After Augie and Connie were transported, the group headed down the mountain to be with them at the hospital.
“They always say that when single motorcycle accidents happen, alcohol is involved,” said Augie’s friend. “That guy’s been sober 24 years. That’s what we were celebrating.”
Though the day didn’t go as planned, Joseph Colmenero is grateful. “My brother is still with us. He and his wife. That’s the best part, they’re still with us.”