Officer Earle M. Ames was returning to the CHP Stanislaus office after a special duty assignment in Oakland. Ames was traveling late in the evening through very heavy fog when his motorcycle collided with a city bus. The bus was reportedly almost invisible in the fog because of its newly installed vapor lights. Officer Ames was thrown from his motorcycle and killed.
Officer Ames, a member of the Stanislaus County unit of the California Highway Patrol and the former Police Chief of Newman, was survived by his widow and then 9-year-old daughter.