Council candidate’s father killed in cycling accident

2012-05-17T23:21:00Z 2013-03-31T20:06:56Z Council candidate’s father killed in cycling accidentKEVIN COURTNEY Napa Valley Register
May 17, 2012 11:21 pm  • 

Alfredo Pedroza, the 56-year-old father of Napa City Council candidate Alfredo Pedroza, was killed on Silverado Trail on Thursday evening while riding his bicycle home from a 50-mile workout.

The senior Pedroza was riding southbound on the shoulder of Silverado Trail just south of Pine Ridge Winery at 6:30 p.m. when a Ford hatchback, also heading south, veered off the roadway at 55 mph and struck him, California High Patrol Sgt. Gilberto Jose said.

Pedroza was killed instantly, the CHP said. The vehicle then crashed into an embankment and eventually came to rest against a hill, Jose said.

His son, Alfredo, is a Napa banker who is running for City Council in the November election.

The car was driven by Cammie Mutz, 20, of Calistoga, Jose said. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected, Jose said.

Mutz was not injured in the crash, but was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center as a precaution, Jose said. Mutz was "very upset" about the accident.

Jose said there were no obvious road hazards at the time, noting traffic was light, it was still daylight and the shoulder in that area is at least three feet wide.

The CHP will investigate whether Mutz fell asleep or was using a cell phone at the time of the crash, the CHP said.

On Friday afternoon, the victim’s son paid tribute to his father, saying he came to the United States as a teenager with no money and no English skills, then “built this family from the ground up.”

“He worked over 30 years in the vineyards,” the son said. “He never missed a day at work. Those are the values I learned from my dad.”

On Thursday, his father had worked a full day as a manager for a vineyard management company, then had gone on a 50-mile bike ride to Calistoga and back, Alfredo Pedroza said. His father was training for a 100-mile race, he said.

The son said his father had married, bought a home and raised two children in Napa. His father never finished school, but aspired that his children succeed in his adopted country, said Pedroza, who was the first in his family to go to college.

“His focus was on making sure my sister and I had the opportunity to accomplish our goals,” he said.

A funeral is being planned for Tuesday. Claffey and Rota Funeral Home is handling arrangements, Pedroza said. A Rosary may occur Monday night at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, he said.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(46) Comments

  1. lovelife64
    Report Abuse
    lovelife64 - May 18, 2012 4:51 am
    This's terrible!! I'm a runner, I do run Silverado Trail...Twice on Silverado Trail, I almost got run over twice, because of drivers texting. Yes shoulders are 3ft wide!!!
  2. Skip_M
    Report Abuse
    Skip_M - May 18, 2012 5:50 am
    Texting?
  3. Tim Thulin
    Report Abuse
    Tim Thulin - May 18, 2012 6:37 am
    One clarification, the story says that the driver drifted onto the shoulder, it would be more accurate to say that the driver of the car drifted into the BIKE LANE.
  4. nwnapan
    Report Abuse
    nwnapan - May 18, 2012 6:53 am
    I feel very sorry for both parties here, but obviously more for the bicyclist. This is why I don't road bike. It's always a no win outcome in car vs. bike and nowadays drivers are simply too distracted.
  5. Tim Thulin
    Report Abuse
    Tim Thulin - May 18, 2012 6:53 am
    My previous clarification wasn't accurate, please disregard it.
    What is referred to as a shoulder in the story is actually a bike path which is probably more tha eight ft. wide.
  6. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - May 18, 2012 6:56 am
    Way back when we were kids we rode back and forth on Trail to the Conn Damm recreation swimming hole, the one you needed a wetsuit to stay in longer than to took get out as fast as you could, looking at today’s drunk drivers on the Trail, I’d I take my chances the electric chair blowing a fuse before I’d do that again…
  7. Napa5gen
    Report Abuse
    Napa5gen - May 18, 2012 7:50 am
    I hope she wasn't texting or talking while driving. I see it more than ever now while driving around how people are still on their phones!
  8. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - May 18, 2012 8:03 am
    I wish this stuff didn't happen.
  9. firststreetmayor
    Report Abuse
    firststreetmayor - May 18, 2012 9:58 am
    The young ladies eyes were not on the road, that is a fact.. So where were they ?
    ..............................................................................................................................................
    I think a new law needs to be established giving quicker access to the drivers phone records at the scene of a death caused by a driver.
  10. chunk215
    Report Abuse
    chunk215 - May 18, 2012 9:59 am
    I just find it hard to drift into the bike lane if you're paying attention. If I see a cyclist I make sure that nothing distracts me in those moments while passing them. Move over a few feet to the left if possible and give the cyclist room. I Don't know what happened though but just saying under normal circumstances It seems hard.
  11. walden
    Report Abuse
    walden - May 18, 2012 10:55 am
    And Napa was just made a "bike friendly" community, right?
  12. NapaNana
    Report Abuse
    NapaNana - May 18, 2012 11:02 am
    I see that the posts that are being allowed are quite biased against the young driver of the car. I see that the posts that are being allowed are also speculating that it is the fault of the driver....and even more speculation that she was texting while driving. I don't remember reading any of that in the article.

    What isn't being allowed to be posted is how dangerous that Silverado Trail is...and that even with the bike lane there, it isn't a safe place to choose to ride. Beautiful yes....safe NO!

    It is a terrible tragedy for ALL involved.
  13. vocal-de-local
    Report Abuse
    vocal-de-local - May 18, 2012 11:22 am
    She could have ventured off the road from a flat tire but it seems they would have mentioned it already. There's a much greater chance she was using her cell phone and I don't care whether or not it's PC to jump to this conclusion. Her phone records need to be checked. This could save lives in the future. Young people, in particular, need to know that there are consequences when using a phone while driving.
  14. SouthNapa
    Report Abuse
    SouthNapa - May 18, 2012 12:22 pm
    vocal-de-local said: "She could have ventured off the road from a flat tire but it seems they would have mentioned it already. There's a much greater chance she was using her cell phone and I don't care whether or not it's PC to jump to this conclusion. Her phone records need to be checked. This could save lives in the future. Young people, in particular, need to know that there are consequences when using a phone while driving."

    I'm sure that's what we're all wondering but at the same time I think we need to wait until the CHP completes their investigation before chastising the driver. A man lost his life and his family will be forever altered as will the life of the driver and her family. Let's all wait for the CHP to finish their investigation before we start casting stones. We don't know what happened yet.
  15. Solidarity
    Report Abuse
    Solidarity - May 18, 2012 1:08 pm
    NapaNana said: "I see that the posts that are being allowed are quite biased against the young driver of the car. I see that the posts that are being allowed are also speculating that it is the fault of the driver....and even more speculation that she was texting while driving. I don't remember reading any of that in the article. What isn't being allowed to be posted is how dangerous that Silverado Trail is...and that even with the bike lane there, it isn't a safe place to choose to ride. Beautiful yes....safe NO! It is a terrible tragedy for ALL involved."

    I don't know how you can even equate "bias" into your argument. According to the facts thus far, the driver veered into the shoulder and hit the cyclist who was legally riding his bike on Silverado Trail. I think everyone knows that Silverado Trail is a dangerous road for cyclists, but that danger comes from cars. We need more bike only paths and more training for motorists.
  16. Straight Talk
    Report Abuse
    Straight Talk - May 18, 2012 2:20 pm
    People express their thoughts in different ways. All of the comments here are focused on the accident - why and how it happened. I know Alfredo and his wife and was introduced briefly to his father just days ago. I can't find the words to express my deep sorrow to the Pedroza family. Tiffany and I will keep you in our prayers.
  17. The Ancient
    Report Abuse
    The Ancient - May 18, 2012 2:50 pm
    This should be a lesson to everyone about the dangers of the road. Whether you’re at the wheel or behind the forks you have a responsibility to stay and be safe. That said, they call it an accident because it was in fact an accident. I'm sure that Cammie has been struck by the tragedy of this event and that justice is better served by understanding and compassion rather than public ridicule. We've no idea if there was a phone involved in this incident or not and to indicate or judge her on that basis is scandalously insensitive to and disrespectful of this tragedy.
  18. vocal-de-local
    Report Abuse
    vocal-de-local - May 18, 2012 3:26 pm
    The Ancient said: "We've no idea if there was a phone involved in this incident or not and to indicate or judge her on that basis is scandalously insensitive to and disrespectful of this tragedy."
    I don't think people are necessarily jumping to that conclusion. In my case, I am suggesting the 'possibility'. It's the same with DUIs and accidents. It's something that does enter the mind. All I'm asking is that phone records be checked, in the same way that alcohol levels are checked in accidents. If we walk on eggshells too much around people's feelings, we lose an opportunity to change people's driving habits. I think we have an opportunity here to make a difference, not in a punitive way but in a "let's learn a cause and effect relationship so it can be prevented in the future". That's all I'm saying. Check the phone records in the same way we check for alcohol levels.

  19. orchid lady
    Report Abuse
    orchid lady - May 18, 2012 3:30 pm
    The Ancient said: "This should be a lesson to everyone about the dangers of the road. Whether you’re at the wheel or behind the forks you have a responsibility to stay and be safe. That said, they call it an accident because it was in fact an accident. I'm sure that Cammie has been struck by the tragedy of this event and that justice is better served by understanding and compassion rather than public ridicule. We've no idea if there was a phone involved in this incident or not and to indicate or judge her on that basis is scandalously insensitive to and disrespectful of this tragedy."

    Thank you for the common sense approach. This is a horrible accident, and very sad. My condolences to the Pedroza family. This young lady will be forever impacted by this as well, so I will keep her in my prayers too.
  20. rocketman
    Report Abuse
    rocketman - May 18, 2012 3:39 pm
    This is another example and calls into question whether there are times that riding AGAINST traffic might be a "little" safer.
    Just wondering.....
  21. ddm
    Report Abuse
    ddm - May 18, 2012 4:07 pm
    This is my third attempt to comment about this incident and hopefully this one will actually make it to the page. No judgement should be passed until the details are released after the investigation. That being said- the word accident I believe means that it was done unintentionally, which is very likely the case. However there is also negligence which could also be the case. I said "could". As wrong as it is to accuse the driver of wrongdoing without all the facts it is also wrong to relieve her of any culpability simply because she feels terrible about what happened. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation a member of our community has been killed and I extend my sympathy to his family and friends. RIP Mr. Pedroza.
  22. fmmt47
    Report Abuse
    fmmt47 - May 18, 2012 4:20 pm
    Press Democrat reports that the driver claims to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Condolences to the family, our thoughts and prayers are with them.
  23. widgetman
    Report Abuse
    widgetman - May 18, 2012 4:39 pm
    Let's face it, it's just plain dangerous to bike on that kind of road. Cars are going 55+ and you are only a few feet from them. 6-9 ft, it doesn't matter, it only take a split second at 55 to cover that distance.
  24. gettingreal
    Report Abuse
    gettingreal - May 18, 2012 4:46 pm
    I'm very sorry for your loss Alfredo.
  25. orchid lady
    Report Abuse
    orchid lady - May 18, 2012 5:02 pm
    fmmt47 said: "Press Democrat reports that the driver claims to have fallen asleep at the wheel. Condolences to the family, our thoughts and prayers are with them."

    Thanks for the info. That was something I had thought about being a possibility. Especially because the vehicle continued to travel into a hill. So sad.
  26. Local Yokel
    Report Abuse
    Local Yokel - May 18, 2012 5:54 pm
    The Silverado Trail is no more dangerous than any other road, but you must be aware and focused at all times.

    Texting or reading phones while driving at speed is extremely dangerous. We do not know the cause of this 'accident', but checking phone records should be routine in this type of distracted driving incident.

    Driving when exhausted from lack of sleep is just plain irresponsible and - dangerous.

    Cycling on any road with so many cars is also dangerous, cylists must recognize the risks, or they would not ride on the public highways.

    Rural roads seem very dangerous for cyclists, especially where there is only just room for two cars passing opposite sides on winding roads. WHY do they ride on these roads?!
    It is just a matter of time before this happens again.

    Terribly sad for all involved, my heartfelt sympathy to all the Pedroza family.

  27. Leo624
    Report Abuse
    Leo624 - May 18, 2012 6:02 pm
    Silverado trail has become more and more dangerous over these past years. People drive it to get up and/or down the Valley quickly. If you drive it at 50 mph (as I do) people pass on the double yellow lines, called you names, i.e. "slow poke"; and pass without having enough distance to do so safely. Our local law enforcement agencies, i.e. CHP and Sherriff's Dept's need to start monitoring the Silverado Trail much more!!
  28. Cadence
    Report Abuse
    Cadence - May 18, 2012 6:26 pm
    I am very sorry for the loss of Mr Pedroza.

    I think the chances of a twenty year old falling asleep at 6:30 in the evening are slim. I notice a lot of times vehicles involved in accidents that "drifted" over the center line, shoulder, wherever they drift, a lot of times the excuse is that the driver fell asleep. I am very skeptical and given the numbers of drifters I see who turn out to be on cell phones vs the number of sleeping drivers I see(I drive a lot,) I simply do not believe that falling asleep occurs as frequently, night AND day, as is claimed.

    I do wonder, Leo, why you don't take a few extra seconds and pull over and let faster cars go by? You can still be correct and they won't be, maybe they'll be cited, but it seems that sometimes, rigid behavior on one party's part is the catalyst for accidents and some of these accidents have very grim outcomes. I would not want ANY role in an accident like this.
  29. DannyK
    Report Abuse
    DannyK - May 18, 2012 6:36 pm
    That is one of my bike routes and I know there's a stretch just south of Pine Ridge Winery that is very blind going up the hill. I make a point of getting thru there in a hurry and as far to the right on the bike-lane as possible. I will follow the poice report.
  30. mlojo
    Report Abuse
    mlojo - May 18, 2012 7:29 pm
    Several things:
    1) I was there. It happened a few cars behind me and I stopped and turned around.
    2) The shoulder/bike path was more like 2' wide with a giant ditch at the edge of the pavement.
    3) I drive that road every day, and yes, falling asleep is very easy to do. People like to go below the speed limit on that road (Leo), and it causes highway hypnosis as your mind begins to shut off since it is under-engaged in the act of driving.

    I'm sorry for the victim's family's loss.
    I am equally sorry for the driver. She appears to be the type of person who is constantly trying to do good in the world.
  31. bfl
    Report Abuse
    bfl - May 18, 2012 11:25 pm
    I am deeply sadden by the loss of Alfredo I know him and we always had conversations about the next century ride. I will miss him. It is a tough loss for our community and one that I feel that should not have happened, and it goes to show that we in the napa valley need a closed trail away from vehicles from Calistoga all the way to Vallejo, like the american river trail which is 26+ miles of closed trail. I personally don't mind the trail I have ridden many roads and I feel fine riding my bike on it, we belong on the road just as cars do and we ought to share the road. I agree for those of you who do not feel safe on silverado trail and ideally we ought to have a closed trail as well. May Alfredo Rest in peace. "Descanse en Paz"
  32. sasammie
    Report Abuse
    sasammie - May 18, 2012 11:39 pm
    There traffic on Silverado Trail was slow (40 miles an hour) and bumper to bumper last night at 5:30pm from Deer Park Road all the way to Oak Knoll. There was a group of about 20 cyclists clustered between the 2 lanes trying to stop traffic heading South to turn onto Oak Knoll road. This looked an accident waiting to happen so I called CHP to report the road hazard. About 15 minutes later I received a call from the nearest officer, STILL 10 minutes away asking details. He said that he hadn't heard any other reports and everything should be ok now. I wonder if he had gone onto the trail at that time this tragic accident could have been prevented in some way. The CHP officer would have arrived at the scene close to the time of accident at 6:30pm. I am so sorry that this accident was not prevented.
  33. aaron
    Report Abuse
    aaron - May 19, 2012 6:29 am
    sasammie said: "There traffic on Silverado Trail was slow (40 miles an hour) and bumper to bumper last night at 5:30pm from Deer Park Road all the way to Oak Knoll. There was a group of about 20 cyclists clustered between the 2 lanes trying to stop traffic heading South to turn onto Oak Knoll road. This looked an accident waiting to happen so I called CHP to report the road hazard. About 15 minutes later I received a call from the nearest officer, STILL 10 minutes away asking details. He said that he hadn't heard any other reports and everything should be ok now. I wonder if he had gone onto the trail at that time this tragic accident could have been prevented in some way. The CHP officer would have arrived at the scene close to the time of accident at 6:30pm. I am so sorry that this accident was not prevented. "

    Did you really print this response NVR? It's not even relevant to actual story. R.I.P. Mr. Pedroza
  34. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - May 19, 2012 10:48 am
    Leo624 said: "..... If you drive it at 50 mph (as I do) people pass on the double yellow lines, called you names, i.e. "slow poke"; and pass without having enough distance to do so safely. Our local law enforcement agencies, i.e. CHP and Sherriff's Dept's need to start monitoring the Silverado Trail much more!!"

    Yes. I agree.

    They should start with enforcing the "Obstruction of Traffic" regulations.

    Any vehicle going slowly enough to have five cars backed up behind them must pull over and let the traffic they are obstructing get by them.

    I know you feel like you are driving safely. But your actions are causing the people to pass whenever they feel as if they have an opportunity. I'm not saying it is right, but by beaking the law and NOT letting them by, you are a contributor to the unsafe acts they engage in to get by the car that is breaking the law by holding up traffic. If you pull over, the cars behind you will not have the chance to break the law passing you.

  35. Eleven Toes
    Report Abuse
    Eleven Toes - May 19, 2012 11:25 am
    2 issues here. Why would anyone would ride a bicycle or jog on a highway with cars driving 60 to 70 MPH 3 feet away from them? Why would the county put bicycle lanes on a highway with high speed traffic?
  36. vocal-de-local
    Report Abuse
    vocal-de-local - May 19, 2012 11:55 am
    We need bicycle lanes which are not alongside roads where people travel 55 mph. If a new bicycle lane is built that is not on the shoulder of Silverado Trail, at that point bicycle traffic should be forbidden on Silverado, except for special events.
    If bicycle traffic is allowed to continue on Silverado, we need to invest in rumble strips to alert drivers when they are going into the bicycle lane.
    Perhaps Alfredo's accident will increase our awareness and save the life of others? And while we're at it, maybe we can save a few more lives by forbidding ANY passing along Silverado. Instead, there should be a few slow car pull out lanes and a rumble strip running between the opposite traveling lanes. Silverado Trail is a very dangerous road to travel. Combine it with the inattentive driver of today and it's one accident after another waiting to happen. Let's fix it!

  37. ACitizen
    Report Abuse
    ACitizen - May 19, 2012 1:37 pm
    I feel the impulse to say, If you're in that much of a hurry to try and pass someone under unsafe conditions, that's on you. That's your choice, OR you could just slow down a tiny bit, have some patience and be safe. And with the information given so far, why pass judgement, it's unnecessary especially when you don't know all the circumstances or the people involved. Also, why is it that these kind of stories get the public to think that it's only and will always be the driver at fault(not to say this story is the opposite) Just in general. Lastly, the last 2 or 3 times I've been in Napa I have seen 2 bicyclists who were hit by cars!!!!! Napa, bike friendly???!!!
  38. grafted one
    Report Abuse
    grafted one - May 20, 2012 6:12 am
    First, I want to offer my condolences to the Pedroza Family for their loss and pray God's Spirit and peace fill their hearts and home. I pray they find comfort among friends as they treasure the treasure the memories of Alfredo Sr. I am so very sorry. Truly a tragic event. Even for the young lady whose intent that day was to not kill a man. And she'll live with that for a long time and I pray she finds peace. As a cyclist myself, I ride these roads for fitness and the challenge of pushing my body to a limit. I do all that is possible to be safe. I KNOW drivers have difficulty seeing me. I know I am taking a risk. So local drivers and tourists, I am watching you.
  39. AO1982
    Report Abuse
    AO1982 - May 20, 2012 10:51 am
    Just a horrible story. You gotta feel bad for both parties involved and their families. I wont begin to speculate what really happened since most of the comments already do that. Thoughts and prayers to those who lost their dad, and for the young girl who has to live with this for the rest of her life.

    What a sad sad story.
  40. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - May 20, 2012 11:03 am
    ACitizen said: "I feel the impulse to say, If you're in that much of a hurry to try and pass someone under unsafe conditions, that's on you. ..."

    So, who said they are passing under unsafe conditions ? Are you saying that's what happened in this horrible accident ?

    I don't think anybody would be overly concerned about the person who made that choice. The concern would be about anybody who might be the victim of someone who was passing unsafely.
  41. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - May 20, 2012 11:11 am
    vocal-de-local said: " And while we're at it, maybe we can save a few more lives by for bidding ANY passing along Silverado. Instead, there should be a few slow car pull out lanes ..."

    That is a most beautiful vision.

    Especially the part where people are going to use the pullouts. nthe millions of free dollars that the County of Napa would need just to ATTEMPT to control drivers.

    Since passing is forbidden on at least 90% of Silverado Trail already, I'm guessing the only difference would be the increase of cars illegally passing.

    I've got a better idea of how to minimize accidents on Silverado Trail, if that is the goal. Just CLOSE Silverado Trail ! We could widen 29 to six lane, or something.

    Then the accidents that make Napa the most fatal place to drive would just happen somewhere else.

    The road is not the problem. Nobody has died there without the aid of a motor vehicle driven by a human.

    It's the humans that need to be fixed.
  42. Zach Curren
    Report Abuse
    Zach Curren - May 20, 2012 5:41 pm
    I happen to know both of the people involved, and both are as fine a people as you could ever hope to know. What happened is tragic for the families of both those involved, and my heart goes out to them.

    For my part I'm holding back from judging. Since I'm also a cyclist and ride the trail multiple times a week, instead I'm just going to cling to my family and pray for (both) theirs.
  43. DP
    Report Abuse
    DP - May 21, 2012 6:01 pm
    Quite frankly, I am a little disappointed that the driver's name was released...and so immediately. Not only because she is so young, but also because the investigation has not been completed. Therefore, releasing her name allows (and possibly encourages) unknowing citizen's to unfairly judge her and speculate about her. I can only imagine the shame and guilt the young lady must be experiencing. Had her name not been released we would still have the (known) facts about the situation, and, would still be just as able to mourn the loss of life. This is a tragic accident for both families and both families are entitled to empathy and privacy during this difficult time.
  44. Missy56
    Report Abuse
    Missy56 - May 21, 2012 9:25 pm
    "Quite frankly, I am a little disappointed that the driver's name was released...and so immediately. Not only because she is so young, but also because the investigation has not been completed."

    I think it would be different if the driver had been a minor, but she is not a minor therefore her name was appropriately released to the news media. And I do hope they check cell phone records. It seems odd to me that a young person would fall asleep at that time of day.

    This is a tragic, tragic event and my heart goes out to the Pedroza family because they never had a chance to say good-bye to their father/husband/uncle. And I feel for the driver too who will have to live with this for the rest of her life.
  45. DannyK
    Report Abuse
    DannyK - May 22, 2012 7:40 am
    As a bike rider following many different routes in the Valley, I would appreciate it if any one can update an accurate police report or any proven reason for this horrible accident.
  46. lovesatailwind
    Report Abuse
    lovesatailwind - May 24, 2012 12:48 pm
    Silverado Trail was #24 in the top 25 most dangerous roads in the bay area some years ago and I'm sure it's climbed that list some in the last few years. How many roads are in the bay area? Hwy 1 with it's narrow winding roads and little no shoulder is more safe, and I know this as I've ridden both roads many times. Kind of embarrassing for us Napkins, don't you think?

    I'm sick about this accident and sad for both the victim's friends and family as well as the driver. So sad to make a mistake like this so early in life. She may never get the sound of that accident out of her head. I think that's punishment enough.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick