Robert McGrath, 33, dead after police chase ends in Yuba County, sheriff says |

Robert McGrath, 33, dead after police chase ends in Yuba County, sheriff says

Christina Frye — the mother of 33-year-old Robert McGrath, who died in a police chase last week — knew her son was like her.

Calling herself a recovering addict, Frye said her son committed no crimes when he was free of drugs. He struggled with that addiction, she said, and on June 29, the day he died, he made a choice to run from police.

But he was also a good man, Frye said.

“My life will never, ever be the same,” she said. “We’re all pretty devastated by his passing. It’s sudden and unexpected.”

According to Sheriff Keith Royal, McGrath had fled from officers over the past few weeks. Deputies knew McGrath had an outstanding probation warrant when around 5:30 p.m. June 29 they spotted him at Highway 20 and Rough and Ready Highway.

“He was well known,” the sheriff said. “His tattoos were very distinctive.”

Officers attempted to stop McGrath, who fled westbound on Highway 20. Reaching speeds between 90 and 100 mph on a Suzuki 650 motorcycle, McGrath turned onto Hammonton Smartville Road and passed into Yuba County, Royal said.

The chase ended near the Doolittle Drive entrance to Beale Air Force Base, said Leslie Carbah, public information officer with the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office.

An autopsy is pending for McGrath. Authorities have determined no official cause or manner of death, Carbah added.

“It was a motorcycle accident,” she said. “He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Frye said her son couldn’t overcome his addiction for long stretches of time. However, he was also kind and respectful. He had many friends and people close to him that he considered family.

“Regardless of his criminal past, he was a very kind soul,” Frye said.

A fundraiser is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Western Gateway Park, 18560 Penn Valley Drive, Penn Valley. Plates of food will sell for $25.

Frye said she’s now responsible for her son’s outstanding bills. She also wants to set money aside for McGrath’s daughter, who he hadn’t seen in years because of his addiction.

“Robert was an addict in the midst of his addiction,” Frye said.

“He was my oldest, but he was my baby,” she added.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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