Jeff Engels was heading north on Soledad Canyon Road, east of Briggs Road in Agua Dulce, around 6 p.m. Feb. 7 when a white Ford F-450 made a U-turn directly into his path, according to statements from law enforcement officials in court documents obtained by The Signal.
“The subject vehicle continued with the turn and sped away, dragging the victim and the motorcycle approximately 1,300 feet before the victim became dislodged,” according to a report from CHP Officer Berton Branch.
Engels was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Josh Greengard, spokesman for the CHP’s Newhall-area office.
California Highway Patrol officers identified and arrested a suspect in connection with their investigation, but the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office has yet to charge him in the incident.
A CHP officer alleged investigators were able to track the driver of the truck, whom they identified in an arrest warrant as James Preston Fulton, 58, of Santa Clarita, for several miles after the collision.
The driver of the truck apparently pulled over to the right shoulder in the 9900 block of Soledad Canyon Road, according to footage later obtained by the CHP, and then proceeded to back up the truck several times until the motorcycle was dislodged, and drove off heading south, per a sworn statement from Branch.
“Vehicle parts located on scene including a partial drive line and an exhaust bracket matched parts either damaged or missing on the (motorcycle),” according to a report from a CHP officer who inspected an F-450 registered to Fulton. The officer also noted the existence of “biological tissue and clothing fibers (like those worn by the victim) were located in multiple locations on the underside of the vehicle.” The CHP officer’s statement also notes a large amount of marijuana was located inside the vehicle.
After a warrant was issued for Fulton’s arrest in connection with the incident, the suspect turned himself in to the Newhall office on Feb. 15, according to Greengard.
Fulton was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run resulting in death, according to previous reporting in The Signal.
However, the DA’s office declined to file charges against Fulton, according to a CHP officer familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak on the record about the status of the case. The DA’s office considered the evidence “all circumstantial at this point,” the officer said.
A spokesman for the DA’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of the publication of this story.
Fulton was arrested the afternoon of Feb. 20 by Palmdale Sheriff’s Station deputies on suspicion of carjacking in connection to a completely separate incident, according to Sheriff’s Department records.
Fulton was released on bond the following day, and is due back in court March 27 to answer to those charges, according to Sheriff’s Department records online.
The CHP is asking anyone with information or who drove through the area with a dash camera on Feb. 7 to contact CHP, Newhall Area, at 661-600-1600.