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We are praying for the Lord to comfort all the family and friends touched by this tragedy...
Sonoma family of 4 dies in crash; father was Marin executive
Posted: 11/29/2009 03:10:36 PM PST
Johnathan Maloney, shown in a 1990s handout photo from Panamax. Friends and former Marin County colleagues on Sunday mourned the death of Johnathan Maloney, his wife and two young children, killed Saturday night in a multicar crash east of Novato.
The minivan in which the Maloney family was riding was struck by an oncoming Mini Cooper at the intersection of Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway, about two miles east of the Marin County line. Maloney, 45, his wife, Susan Maloney, 42, and their children Aiden, 8, and Grace, 5, died in the impact, said Officer Jon Sloat of the California Highway Patrol.
The man who was driving the Mini Cooper, Steven Culbertson, 19, of Lakeport (Lake County), was listed in critical condition Sunday night, said Vanessa Begier, a spokeswoman for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that Culbertson had died.
Johnathan Maloney had worked at Panamax in San Rafael, a high-tech manufacturer, for many years and more recently with Novato-based SolarCraft, a solar energy company.
"I knew him for about 20 years and he was my best friend, a wonderful father and a very generous man," said attorney and neighbor Bob Smith, who also works for SolarCraft. "You are lucky if you ever have a friend like John. Now we don't have him anymore. I don't know what else to say."
Henry Moody, a Ross resident who founded Panamax, learned of the fatal crash at about 5 a.m. Sunday.
"We had a great relationship," Moody said. "John was an exceptional person - very bright. He was well-liked in that he never made an enemy with anybody.
"The mind cannot assimilate something like this. It's a tragedy, especially because of the children. We cry a lot for kids who haven't had a chance to have a life."
The Maloneys' minivan was heading east on Highway 37 as the family returned from a vacation in Hawaii on their way home to a neighborhood just north of downtown Sonoma. As the minivan crossed through the four-way stop at about 9:20 p.m., a Mini Cooper driven by Culbertson hit a car that was stopped for a red light on southbound Lakeville Highway and slammed into the minivan, the CHP said.
The minivan was rendered nearly unrecognizable by the collision.
The Mini Cooper also struck a sedan waiting at the light and three people in that vehicle were hospitalized in Novato with injuries, according to the highway patrol.
"He clipped two vehicles and broadsided the family of four," CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said. "Right now there is no evidence of drugs or alcohol. That could change later, but right now, there is no evidence."
After the impact, the minivan pushed into a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant that was also traveling east on Highway 37, the CHP reported. Novato resident Carrie Rodriguez, 52, of Novato, and her passengers Liberty Rosario, 47, of Fairfield, and Adelaida Nicholas, 53, of Novato, were taken to local hospitals and treated for minor injuries before being released, according to the CHP.
Two medical helicopters and the Sonoma County coroner were called to the site. Culbertson was flown by helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Traffic in the area came to a standstill and was backed up for hours just east of the Marin-Sonoma county border near Black Point. Fire crews from Novato, Lakeville, Wilmar and Petaluma were called to the crash.
Johnathan Maloney started at Panamax in the late 1980s, Smith said. Eventually he became co-owner with Smith, Moody and Bill Pollock. Moody said the group sold the company to Nortek, and it is now based in Petaluma with Pollock as its president.
After Maloney left Panamax, he went back to school at Dominican University to work on a master's in humanities and focused on creative writing. He already had at a journalism degree from the University of Georgia.
"He worked on his writing skills and wrote a children's book, which was part of his dream," Moody said. "He loved the arts."
Last spring he joined Solarcraft as vice president for sales and marketing, Smith said. He worked at both the Bel Marin Keys headquarters as well as the Petaluma office.
Maloney had a daughter, Molly, from a previous marriage. Molly Maloney was a sports standout at Tamalpais High and now attends the University of Wisconsin. The family had flown in from Hawaii in order to have a Thanksgiving dinner with Molly on Saturday, Smith said.
The Saturday night crash had the highest death toll since the 2007 crash on Highway 101 in Santa Rosa that killed five members of a Windsor family.
Contact Brent Ainsworth via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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PHOTOS FROM FACEBOOK
Susan Maloney with children Aiden and Grace
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December 1, 2009 UPDATE
Thieves raid empty home of family killed in crash
Tue 12/1/09 2 PM
By David Bolling
Sonoma Police Officers Rocky Seffens and Mike Baraz stand guard over the Maloney home while crime scene investigators process evidence inside. Robbi Pengely/Index-Tribune
Compounding the tragedy that took the lives of four Sonoma family members in a Saturday night auto accident, thieves broke into their empty home Monday night, ransacked the contents taking numerous items of value, and drove off with family's remaining car, a two-seat, 2006 Nissan 350Z sports car.
"It is incomprehensible that someone would capitalize on this tragedy," said a tearful Nancy Pollock, who with her husband, Bill, was a close family friend of John and Susan Maloney, and their children Aiden and Grace. The Pollocks were present at the house Tuesday morning as crime scene investigators from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department processed the scene.
"It shakes your faith in mankind," said Nancy's husband, Bill Pollock, president of Panamax Corporation, the Petaluma company where John and Susan met. John Maloney, with fellow Sonoman Bob Smith, had been co-owners of Panamax until Maloney decided to sell his interest in order take a break form work and write a book while spending more time with his family. The Maloneys were returning to Sonoma Saturday after a Thanksgiving vacation in Hawaii when their mini-van was struck by a speeding teenage driver who ran the red light at Lakeville Road and Highway 37. The driver, 19-year-old Steven Culbertson of Lakeport, died Sunday.
The family was returning home to spend time with 19-year-old Molly Maloney, John's daughter from a previous marriage, before she returned to college in Wisconsin.
Staring into the open garage that had been ransacked the night before, Nancy Pollock said through anguished tears, John and Nancy "are in a safe place now. But to do this to Molly ... they ransacked the whole house, they threw things all over ... even went in the little kids ... they went in Aiden and Grace's rooms. Sonoma police Chief Bret Sackett said the break-in happened sometime between midnight and 7 a.m. this morning (Tuesday). He said the thieves appeared to have entered through a side garage door and that sheriff's detectives and CSI personnel were carefully processing the house all Tuesday afternoon. Sackett said a complete list of what was taken had not been compiled but that it included electronics and other valuable items, including the 350Z sports car, which was silver in color, with the license plate, 5XOH067.
Meanwhile, a memorial service has been planned for Friday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. in Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center. Space will be somewhat limited.
Additionally, a benefit fund to aid Molly Maloney's continuing education is being established and fund details will be released as soon as they are available.
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CHP probes whether driver was drinking before fatal crash
By LORI A. CARTER,
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 6:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 6:48 p.m.
The inquiry into Saturday night’s violent car crash that killed a Sonoma family of four broadened Tuesday into whether the teen driver of a speeding Mini Cooper had been drinking before causing, and dying in, the crash.
19-year-old in crash liked to race cars Mini Cooper driver had DUI as a 17-year-old 5 killed in Lakeville Highway crash CHP investigators Tuesday afternoon interviewed a witness who has come forward with information that could shed light on the activities of the driver, Steven Culbertson, 19, in the hours leading up to the collision.
The information raises questions about liability if someone served the underage man alcohol prior to the crash.
In interviews Tuesday with The Press Democrat and later with the CHP, Michael Loffredo of Petaluma said his family saw Culbertson sitting at the bar of Traxx, a Petaluma bar and restaurant, as they were having dinner between 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday. He said he saw a white Mini in the parking lot.
Whether alcohol was involved in Saturday night’s crash remained unknown, pending results of Culbertson’s toxicology test ordered by the CHP.
The CHP confirmed Tuesday that Culbertson had been arrested for drunken driving in a 2007 Lake County crash when he was 17. His driver’s license was suspended for a year, the standard punishment after such an arrest.
Culbertson had no other driving infractions, according to the CHP.
Investigators said Culbertson caused the crash when his Mini, traveling at an estimated 70-90 mph on southbound Lakeville Highway, slammed broadside into the family’s eastbound van at Highway 37.
Susan Maloney, 42, her husband, John, 45, and their children Grace, 5, and Aiden, 8, died on impact in the 9:20 p.m. crash, the CHP said.
Culbertson of Lakeport died Sunday at a Santa Rosa hospital.
Loffredo, an art instructor at the Santa Rosa Junior College campus in Petaluma, told The Press Democrat that he and his sister remarked on the white Mini with Lakeport markings as they went into the restaurant. He said they saw a tall, dark-haired young man sitting at the bar and he had a mixed-drink style glass in his hand.
“I thought, ‘That’s a kid...He’s drinking. It must be a busboy or dishwasher, but they’re giving him a drink.’ He was noticeably young,” Loffredo said.
The information, if proved true, could result in criminal charges or administrative sanctions if the underage Culbertson was served alcohol in violation of state law, CHP spokesman Officer Jon Sloat said.
Results of Culbertson’s toxicology tests could be available in two to three weeks.
“We need to backtrack 24 hours leading up to the collision,” Sloat said. “If he was somewhere drinking underage, that opens up a whole other can of worms for whoever was serving him.”
The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which issues licenses and investigates related violations, is also involved, CHP Sgt. Robert Mota said.
Traxx owner Chris Cheney said Tuesday evening he hadn’t been contacted by investigators. He said he didn’t know if Culbertson had been at his establishment, but that his employees use standard age-checking procedures before they serve alcohol to young-looking patrons.
Typically, bars, wineries and other licensed alcohol purveyors are not responsible for what intoxicated patrons do once they walk out the door.
The exception is when someone serves an obviously intoxicated minor, said Santa Rosa attorney Pat Emery, who has handled numerous civil lawsuits involving alcohol-related crashes.
Loffredo said after dinner he drove southeast on Lakeville Street toward the marina and he realized the Mini was behind him, driving fast.
“As we left, he must have been right behind us,” he said. “That car blew by us in the lane and cut off two cars coming off the freeway. That was the beginning of a death ride.
“He was doing at least 70,” he said. “I told my dad, ‘That SOB just went through the red light.’ It was suicidal. Nobody in their right mind would do that.”
Loffredo said the Mini split between two vehicles exiting Highway 101 at Lakeville, causing those drivers to honk their horns. The Mini continued east, he said.
“I looked at the clock and it was 9:08,” he said. “Then they showed his picture on the news and I went ‘bingo.’”
That time frame matches the crash that occurred about 10 minutes later at Lakeville Highway and Highway 37, approximately 12 miles away.
The CHP said that as Culbertson approached the intersection on Lakeville, he came upon a Honda CRV stopped for the light. The Mini clipped the back of that vehicle and then flew into the intersection against the light.
It appears he didn’t try to slow down before running the red light and into the intersection at 37, Sloat said. There were no skid marks at the scene.
“It didn’t look like he was trying to brake,” Sloat said.
The Maloney family was returning to their Sonoma home from the airport after flying in from Maui, where they had spent Thanksgiving.
Whether Culbertons still had control of the car wasn’t known, but at that speed he wouldn’t have been able to stop from running the light, Sloat said.
“He was going fast enough, he was going into that intersection in control or out of control,” he said.
Meanwhile, autopsies on the bodies of the Maloney family were scheduled for Tuesday, according to the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office. Culbertson’s autopsy was scheduled to follow.
A family friend said Monday that Culbertson had a passion for racing cars. The friend said Culbertson and his father frequently travelled to race tracks in the state to race a BMW and an Acura.
On his Facebook page, Culbertson listed his occupation as “pro driver/mechanic.”
Efforts to reach Culbertson’s family since the crash have been unsuccessful. Sloat said officers intend to interview his family, but wanted to give them time.
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Fairport native, family killed in crash in California
Mitch Pritchard – Staff writer
ROCnow.com Local News – December 1, 2009 - 5:00am
Molly Maloney, 19, left, was supposed to visit with her father, Johnathan, center, and his family Monday.
Molly Maloney was looking forward to a belated Thanksgiving with her father and his family Monday, but instead the 19-year-old was grieving for her loved ones.
Fairport High School graduate Johnathan Maloney, 45; his wife, Susan, 42; their son, Aiden, 8; and their daughter, Grace, 5, were killed in Novato, Calif., late Saturday night after a driver ran a red light and smashed into their minivan.
The family, which lived in Sonoma, was on its way home from the San Francisco International Airport after a weekend trip to Maui. The crash occurred 10 miles from their home.
Molly Maloney, who is a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, was with her mother, Tina Maloney, at her home in Sausalito, Calif., when the crash happened.
Mr. Maloney, a 1982 Fairport graduate, moved to California 25 years ago after graduating from the University of Georgia.
Mr. Maloney was an executive at SolarCraft, a solar energy company. According to Molly Maloney, he had just returned to work after taking two years off to write a book for young adults based on the bedtime stories he had told his children.
“It was his dream to live in California, so after college he just packed up his car and drove out here,” Molly Maloney said by phone Monday. “He always wanted to write this book, so he took the time off to do it.”
Molly Maloney said the book is finished, but Mr. Maloney was in the process of getting it published.
“I knew him for about 20 years and he was my best friend, a wonderful father and a very generous man,” attorney and neighbor Bob Smith, who also works for SolarCraft, told the Marin Independent Journal. “You are lucky if you ever have a friend like John. Now we don’t have him anymore.”
Mr. Maloney started at Panamax, a company that designs and manufactures electronics, in San Rafael in the late 1980s, Smith said. Eventually he became co-owner with Smith, Henry Moody and Bill Pollock. Moody said the group sold the company.
After Mr. Maloney left Panamax, he went back to school at Dominican University to work on a master’s degree in humanities and focused on creative writing. Last spring he joined SolarCraft as vice president for sales and marketing, Smith told the Journal.
Steven Culbertson, 19, who was driving the Mini Cooper that crashed into Maloney’s van, died Monday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital from injuries sustained in the crash.
Culbertson’s car first clipped a car that was stopped for the light at the intersection of Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway and then smashed into the minivan near Novato, about 30 miles north of San Francisco, the California Highway Patrol said.
He was the sole occupant of the car.
The three people in vehicle at the light were hospitalized.
Apart from Molly Maloney, Mr. Maloney is survived by brother Jim Maloney and his wife, Debi, of Honeoye Falls; sister Cathleen Phipps and her husband, Will, of Fairport; and mother Caroline Maloney of Fairport.
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COMMENTS from Lake County Record-Bee - some knew Culbertson
COMMENTS from Press Democrat - witness saw Culbertson drinking & driving reckless before accident
COMMENTS from Press Democrat - Maloney house robbed
COMMENTS from Press Democrat - DUI at 17
COMMENTS from Press Democrat - first report/info on Culbertson family
COMMENTS from Press Democrat - couple caught & arrested
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December 3, 2009 UPDATE
Police nab pair in Maloney home burglary
Sononma Index Tribune
A San Mateo County couple, 26-year-old Michael Vincent Guiterrez and 29-year-old Amber Marie True, were arrested Tuesday afternoon after San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies caught True with a credit card belonging to Susan Maloney.
The empty Maloney home was burglarized Monday night following the Saturday accident that killed four members of the family. Maloney, her husband John, and their children Aiden and Grace, were killed Saturday evening by a speeding 19-year-old who ran a red light at Highway 37 and Lakeville Road and hit the Maloney minivan broadside at a speed estimated at 70 to 90 miles per hour. The driver, Steven Culbertson of Lakeport, died on Sunday.
Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett reported Wednesday morning that the San Mateo arrests began with a traffic stop at a San Mateo convenience store where local deputies saw True acting suspiciously and discovered she was driving on a suspended license. They then discovered she had in her possession a credit card belonging to Susan Maloney and jewelry that appeared inconsistent "with her type," said Sackett.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Department detectives, who had earlier posted alerts and stop notices on all the Maloneys' missing credit cards, traveled to San Mateo Tuesday afternoon and went to True's residence where they found the Maloneys' stolen Nissan 350Z sports car parked in the driveway.
They staked out the house and sometime after 5 p.m., Giuterrez came out, got into the Nissan and started to drive away. Having a suspect in a known stolen car gave waiting deputies immediate cause to make an arrest and they took Giuterrez into custody.
They then served a search warrant on the home and, according to Sackett, found more jewelry, financial records, credit cards, electronic devices and other of the Maloneys' personal belongings. Sackett said a full inventory had not been completed but it appears likely that all of the Maloneys' stolen property has been recovered.
Giuterrez and True were transported back to Sonoma County and booked into the county jail on charges of burglary and vehicle theft. Bail was set at $500,000 apiece.
The following are comments from the Sonoma IT readers. In no way do they represent the view of www.sonomanews.com.
Whardy39@comcast.net wrote on Dec 2, 2009 11:48 AM:
" Great news!!!! Throw the book
at them. "
email@example.com wrote on Dec 2, 2009 2:01 PM:
" I am so glad they caught them.they deserve to rot..I am a little relieved that is was not people from our community i was losing faith in our town "
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on Dec 2, 2009 3:06 PM:
" in my eyes the driver who killed this poor family got exactly what he deserved, really how many chances do you liberals want to give these repeat offenders? the two that stole and did the unbelievable should get that absolute top penalty for this unholy act. one of them has many ties to sonoma, and never give up hope for sonoma, its a town that is a family to most. "
email@example.com wrote on Dec 2, 2009 3:16 PM:
" being liberal has nothing to do with anything. thankfully they caught these horrible people "
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on Dec 2, 2009 4:24 PM:
" bryjag. Pretty low of you to use a serious tragedy like this to take a political swipe. In fact in the most conservative states such as Georgia the DUI laws are much less stringent than Cal. If it's true that he was served drinks at Traxx in Petaluma they'll be held liable. Wouldn't happen in the South or any 'non liberal' states. Get a clue. "
email@example.com wrote on Dec 2, 2009 4:51 PM:
" the worst thing we can can do is even acknowledge someone like bryjag1965 wrote something about this terrible situation. just let him/her be with their opinion and move on. it is obvious they don't have a clue about what they are writing about and they are trying to make more out of something than it already is.
i think it is awesme that these idiots were caught and hopefully they spend the maximum time possible in jail so that our law enforcement resources don't have to spend any more time or effort on them.
to the family and friends of the Maloney's please know that everyone's thoughts and prayers are with you.
to the family and friends of the driver who caused all this, our thoughts and prayers are with you too. you have a grieving process and a loved one gone as well, so there is definitely some healing you have left to do and negative remarks about your lost family member are not necessarily what you should be paying attention to.
Sonoma is strong. It is amazing to see how many people were angered and ready to do something knowing this happened in our small town. Pretty cool to see how we can all agree on something and want to act on it positively. "
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on Dec 2, 2009 6:36 PM:
" This is such a tragedy to have happen to Sonoma residents who were sooo close to home. Both families have had losses that we can't begin to understand. Many lives were needlessly lost in this accident...but that doesn't make it easier to accept...There but by the grace of God go I...any one of us could have been hit...As for those who knowingly went into the home of the victims...they should be punished to the very limit. How tragic that they would tread in the deceased families home...I am glad I am not on their jury as I would throw the book at them...There is absolutely no excuse for what they did and I am so glad they have been caught. "
email@example.com wrote on Dec 3, 2009 5:45 AM:
" I don't think there is a severe enough punishment that fits this crime.
Thankfully, this family and their friends will have more peace now. "
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KTVU News VIDEO and article
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December 4, 2009 UPDATE
Driver seen in bar before fatal crash
By David Bolling and Emily Charrier-Botts
STEVEN CULBERTSON Photo courtesy of the DMV
Steven Culbertson, the 19-year-old Lakeport man whose white, 2009 Mini Cooper raced through a red light Nov. 28, and killed four members of Sonoma's Maloney family, may have been the same man spotted by a witness drinking heavily in a Petaluma bar not long before the accident.
Culbertson also died following the accident. According to Michael Loffredo, 53, a Petaluma resident and art instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, he saw someone identical to Culbertson at Traxx, a Petaluma bar and restaurant, Saturday night. And on his way into the facility with his girlfriend, sister and parents, Loffredo told the Index-Tribune he stopped to admire a white Mini Cooper in the parking lot.
"My sister pointed it out because she was thinking about buying one," he said. "It was a very fancy one, with fancy rims." Lofreddo said he could plainly see a license plate badge saying "Mini of Lakeport." The time was between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Loffredo said his party was seated at a table in the dining room with a view straight into the bar. "After a while," he said, "there were only two guys at the bar, one older guy and this kid who was really tossing them back. I thought, 'Wow, they're getting the busboy hammered.'"
Loffredo said the man resembled a young Ashton Kutcher, the actor. At one point, said Loffredo, he went to the bathroom and ran into the young man, meeting face-to-face. "I looked at him like, 'Hey kid, I know you're underage and I know you're hammered.'"
Loffredo said the young man made a short laugh and went into the women's bathroom. Loffredo said he subsequently left the restaurant, located on Lakeville Street near East Washington, and was driving his parents back to their hotel when he stopped at a red light close to the Highway 101 interchange. He said he saw in his mirror a car racing up behind him. When the car got to the light, said Loffredo, the driver "gunned it, he blew through the red light," and drove right between two cars exiting onto Lakeville Highway from 101.
"My sister said, 'that's the guy from Traxx,' and I told everybody in the car, 'That guy wants to die. This isn't going to end well.'"
At 9:20 p.m., Culbertson's car, a white Mini Cooper, clipped one car, roared through a red light at Lakeville Road and Highway 37, and drove broadside into the Maloneys' Nissan Quest, killing John Maloney, his wife Susan Maloney, and their two children Aiden, 8, and Grace, 5.
Culbertson died Sunday, after being taken off life support.
The California Highway Patrol reported that Culbertson was driving at between 70 and 90 miles an hour when he hit the Maloney minivan.
Authorities are still piecing together Culbertson's activities prior to the crash, and they have interviewed Loffredo about his sighting of the person alleged to be Culbertson at Traxx.
Police are still awaiting the results of a toxicology test to determine if Culbertson was in fact intoxicated at the time of the crash, but he did have a history of drinking and driving.
According to DMV records, he had his license suspended July 14, 2007, for driving with "excessive blood alcohol content." As is typical for first time juvenile offenders, his license was suspended for a year and, as a condition for his license to be reinstated, he was required to carry costly liability insurance, known as SR22 insurance, as a high risk driver through 2011. Culbertson was 17 at the time of the DUI and the details of that incident were not made public.
"All we have on him is a juvenile record, which is not public record," said Richard Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County.
Culbertson's DUI was his only brush with the law in Lake County. Terri Menshek, spokeswoman for the Sonoma County District Attorney's office, said Culbertson had no criminal record in Sonoma County.
CHP Officer Jon Sloat said his department is working to determine exactly what Culbertson was doing during the 24 hours prior to the crash. Law enforcement contacted Culbertson's family in Lakeport for additional information, but as of Wednesday had not interviewed the family, Sloat said. Attempts by the Index-Tribune to reach Steven Culbertson's father, who is also named Steven Culbertson, were unsuccessful.
The Culbertson family shared a love of racing cars. According to the younger Steven Culbertson's Facebook page, he enjoyed racing a BMW and shared aspirations to become a race car driver or mechanic. He attended Clear Lake High School for several years before transferring to the alternative school, Natural High School, where he graduated in 2008.
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North Bay News
Family killed in Highway 37 crash remembered
Updated at 01:08 PM
SONOMA, CA (KGO) -- Preparations are underway for a memorial service this afternoon for a Sonoma family of four killed in a traffic accident last weekend. John and Susan Maloney and their two young children were killed when a speeding car ran a red light and slammed into their vehicle on Highway 37.
A separate memorial service was held this morning at the school that both their son Aiden and daughter Grace attended.
The city of Sonoma is already grieving the loss of the young Maloney family of four. Today emotions are heightened even more in this small North Bay community, with both a family memorial set for 2 p.m. this afternoon and an earlier memorial held at the children's school.
John and Susan Maloney and their two children Aiden and Grace were all killed last Saturday by a high-speed driver who crashed into their car on Highway 37.
Second-grader Aiden and his sister Grace, a kindergartner, both attended Prestwood Elementary School in Sonoma.
On Friday morning, the school held a memorial for them and about 500 people attended. Students, parents and staff observed a moment of silence and released balloons and four doves for the four Maloney family members who died when driving home from the airport after a trip to Hawaii.
In such a tight-knit community, the loss of the children and their parents is being felt by all at Prestwood Elementary School.
"They do have moments when it just kind of hits them, so we do have children that break down during the day. We do have extra counselors and support for that. We have teachers that break down during the day. But we go on, we have ways to back each other up and take care of things and we go on and we try to keep things as normal as possible," said Prestwood Elementary School Principal Linda Tiesenthal.
To help support the children who were in the same grade levels as the Maloney children, each student in kindergarten and second grade was given a blanket by a group called Project Linus.
Later this evening, parents and children are invited to take part in a memorial walk from Prestwood to Sonoma Plaza at 5 p.m.
This afternoon's private memorial is for family and close friends only.
(Copyright ©2009 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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ABC News Videos
Lake County News
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December 6, 2009 UPDATE
Man's organs donated by family after fatal collisionBy Staff reports
Updated: 12/04/2009 09:54:16 PM PST
Lake County Record-Bee
LAKE COUNTY According to a press release from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the Culbertson family has authorized Golden State Donor Services and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to release the following statement on their behalf:
"19-year-old Steven Culbertson's organ donation provided the gift of life to others waiting for a life-saving transplant."
Culbertson died Sunday after crashing into and killing a family of four about 9:20 p.m. Saturday at Lakeville Highway and Highway 37 in Sonoma County, officials stated.
Medics took Culbertson off life support Sunday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Officer Jon Sloat of California Highway Patrol said.
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"Touche Jerry. You may have educated words and strong opinions but I still very much think you are a stubborn a s s h o l e who needs to go away. Do you even know every corner of the story? Steven had very bad health problems. He had horrible seizures very often and took medication for them. He passed out numerous times during school. How do you know he didn't have one right before the crash, and was blacked out and had no idea what was going on? Don't jump to conclusions. You aren't God... you don't know EVERYTHING even though you may think you do."
Reply by Cathy:
"horrible seizures"? Really? Did the DMV know?
From the 2009 Calif Driver Handbook:
"If you have a medical condition or a disability, DMV may require you to take a driving test and/or present a statement from your physician regarding your condition."
Source: Page 2 of California Driver Handbook 2009
"Physicians and surgeons are required to report patients at least 14 years of age and older who are diagnosed as having lapses of consciousness, dementia (mental disorders) conditions, or related disorders.(Health & Safety Code §103900)"
Source: Page 61 of California Driver Handbook 2009
Also check out Calif DMV website regarding 'Lapses of Consciousness Disorders':
Drunk or sober, with such a severe medical condition, should this 19 year-old been behind the wheel of any vehicle in the first place???
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BMW FORUM: Was Steven Culbertson a forum member (MINI driver kills four)
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December 17, 2009 UPDATE
No alcohol found in teen who crashed into Sonoma family of four
BY JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 5:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 5:01 p.m.
The 19-year-old driver involved in a crash at Lakeville Road and Highway 37 that killed four members of a Sonoma family nearly three weeks ago didn't have any alcohol in his system, California Highway Patrol officials announced Thursday afternoon.
Steven Culbertson of Petaluma reportedly sped through a red light at the intersection and crashed into several cars, including a Nissan Quest carrying the Maloney family.
Susan Maloney, 42, her husband, John, 45, and their children, Grace, 5, and Aiden, 8, were killed. Culbertson died later at a hospital.
CHP investigators also said they found no evidence that Culbertson had been at a Petaluma bar before the crash.
“We all expected he'd come back under the influence of alcohol,” CHP Officer John Sloat said. “Now we're scratching our heads wondering why he'd be driving like that sober.”
CHP officers had interviewed Michael Loffredo of Petaluma, who reported that on the evening of the crash he had seen Culbertson sitting at the bar of Traxx, a Petaluma bar and restaurant. Loffredo said he also noticed a white Mini Cooper, the make and color of Culbertson's car, in the parking lot.
Even if Culbertson was at the bar, it would have been legal, according to investigators with Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“The bar in question, Traxx, is licensed as a bar and restaurant, which would have allowed Culbertson to be inside the bar,” the report said.
Examiners found some prescription drugs in Culbertson's system which were likely given to Culbertson at the hospital after the crash, CHP Officer John Sloat said. Further toxicology tests are being done to determine if that's the case, Sloat said.
Investigators will continue interviewing friends and family of to piece together Culbertson's state of mind leading up to the crash, Sloat said.
The CHP has reported that as Culbertson approached Highway 37 southbound on Lakeville, he came upon a Honda CRV stopped for a red light. The Mini, speeding at what witnesses estimated was 70 to 90 mph, clipped the back of that car and flew into the intersection against the light at about 9:20 p.m. Nov. 28, hitting the Maloney's vehicle.
Sloat said it appears Culbertson didn't try to slow before running the red light. No skid marks were at the scene.
The CHP confirmed that Culbertson had been arrested once before for drunken driving in a 2007 Lake County crash when he was 17. His driver's license was suspended for a year, the standard punishment after such an arrest.
Culbertson had no other driving infractions, the CHP said.
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