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Retired police chief Sal Rosano and I reacted the same way to what a heartbroken young man said in the newspaper about the roadside death of his girlfriend, a delightful Rancho Cotate High student named Ashley Carlson.

Mo Hamade said, "It was an accident. A horrible accident. No one should be blamed."

It's understandable and honorable that Mo would want to discourage anyone from blaming and deepening the anguish of the friend of Ashley who was at the wheel when the Honda Civic left rural Llano Road and struck a tree and a utility pole.

But it was not an accident, something that happened beyond anyone's control. We've lost another of our children to a teen car crash that could have been avoided, and we owe it to her to speak frankly about it.

The deeply concerned Rosano has worked in and around police departments for more than 50 years. Since retiring as Santa Rosa's chief he's been a law enforcement liaison to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

He said, "As long as young and inexperienced drivers continue to believe that 'accidents just happen' and they are no one's fault, we will continue to see more of these tragedies without the need to take responsibility for the behavior behind the wheel which is the direct cause of these terrible events."

Rosano added, "In 95 percent of all collisions there is typically an underlying cause, and that is usually a driver's inattention, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, speeding and a number of other factors, most of which are preventable."

While alcohol, drugs and phone use are not suspected in Tuesday's crash, whenever three or four people ride in a car, danger is present. When they are teens, the peril is far greater.

Most of us have been there. We know the distractions, the temptations.

Any dialogue we can have now to attempt to prevent another tragedy like the one alongside Llano Road last Tuesday night would honor Ashley Carlson.

A COUPLE of former high school sweethearts who've done right by their community and each other beamed with gratitude all through a special dedication at Montgomery Village.

The occasion was the renaming of the shopping center's longstanding branch of Exchange Bank.

It is now the historic bank's Reinking Branch.

The place was suitably packed for the dedication ceremony honoring lifelong sweethearts Bill and M-L Reinking, until recently the adored dad and mom of the Exchange Bank family.

They're still adored, but Bill retired earlier this spring from the 50-year run at Exchange Bank that included a stint at the Montgomery Village branch and distinguished leadership as president, CEO and chairman.

Someone observed that through the course of the bank's 124 years, Bill and his dad, Charles, who'd succeeded Frank Doyle as president, served the institution and its community for a

total of 93.

Bill said he feels good about what he managed to do to carry on the legacy of his father and Doyle, and of Doyle's father, Manville, and he's certain he'd have achieved little of it without the help and support of his M-L.

RANDY RICCI STOOD on the track at Sonoma Raceway, his arms raised in triumph and savored the sweet, crunchy taste of victory.

The Santa Rosan completed what looks to be a successful attempt to set a record for assembling the world's largest collection of cereal boxes bearing NASCAR cars and/or drivers.

Ricci, 60, arranged along the track's start/finish line 324 unopened, non-duplicated NASCAR cereal cartons.

Now he awaits confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records. He thinks the experience will be complete if he can find a home for his boxes, someplace where fans can enjoy, inspect and snap photos of them.

He'd love to hear one day that the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., will display his collection.

Maybe that will happen, maybe not. There at the racetrack, Ricci was happy to take in the sight and the moment.

"I'm a world record holder," he said with a smile to rival the one Dale Earnhardt Jr. wears when he wins.

"Isn't that cool?"