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19-year-old dies in motorcycle crash at Oceano Dunes

The Pier Avenue entrance to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
The Pier Avenue entrance to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A San Leandro man died Sunday in a solo motorcycle accident at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Authorities say the incident was unrelated to a massive Huckfest truck jumping competition held there the day before. 

Felipe de Jesus Amezcua, 19, was found unconscious by officers and lifeguards after a report of an accident that had occurred at 4:18 p.m. Sunday. CPR was initiated but stopped at 4:50 p.m., according to State Parks spokeswoman Vicky Waters.

The accident is under investigation, and no other details were available.

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area covers 5.5 miles of beach and 1,500 acres of sand dunes on which off-road vehicles can be legally driven.

Recent statistics on the numbers of deaths at the state park were not immediately available, Waters said. There were at least two deaths in 2011, according to previous Tribune stories. In 2011, Jose Lopez Jr., 37, of Visalia died of injuries sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident at the Oceano Dunes. Motorcyclist John Edward Leano II, 31, also died in 2011 after a solo accident in the Dunes.

Sunday’s fatal Dunes accident was not associated with the Pismo Beach Huckfest, an off-road truck jumping competition that attracted more than 2,000 vehicles to the Oceano Dunes on Saturday, according to organizer Manuel Garner, 21, of Nipomo.

What started in 2008 when approximately 200 people watched informal dune jumping with trucks has grown into an event that this year drew thousands of people.

Oceano Dunes reached its maximum capacity by 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Garner said. Attempts by The Tribune to reach Oceano Dunes rangers for more information were unsuccessful Monday.

Huckfest is named for “hucking,” or “a slang term for jumping without caring what your consequences are,” Garner said.

For the past two years, the free event was formally permitted with State Parks. About 20 trucks were inspected and allowed to jump, with drivers traveling from Michigan, Canada, Arizona and Texas to compete.

The rest of the vehicles on the beach were driven by spectators. Special fencing was erected to keep spectators away from the jumping area, Garner said.

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