A 21-year-old Sonoma State University student died July 5 after a car struck him while he was crossing East Cotati Avenue, authorities said.
Just before noon on Monday, the SSU student, whose identity will not been released until next of kin is notified, was crossing East Cotati Avenue from the Wolf Den Plaza heading towards the SSU campus. The student was not using a crosswalk and stepped off of the center median when a black Ford Fusion struck him, according to the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department.
When police arrived on the scene, they found the pedestrian dead.
Authorities identified the driver as 19-year-old Penngrove resident Ronald Gaither. After striking the student, Gaither did not stop driving but within minutes he pulled over on Roman Dr., called 911 and said he had just been involved in a collision.
“Gaither could not stop to avoid the collision and struck the pedestrian with the left front of his vehicle,” according to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety press release. “Investigators are looking into whether or not inattention or distraction were a contributing factor in the collision by either party.”
Gaither was transported to the hospital for a medical evaluation. An investigation into whether he was impaired at the time of the collision concluded that alcohol or drugs do not appear to have contributed at this time, police said.
Authorities shutdown the roadway between Bodway Parkway and the 7-11 on East Cotati Avenue to investigate the incident, but it was reopened by 3:30 p.m. “The Department of Public Safety wants to remind all pedestrians to use a cross walk when crossing the roadway. Make sure you make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians, so you know they see you. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the pedestrian,” according to the press release.
The deceased has been identified as Hugo Ramirez.