An elderly man struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver as he stood outside of his car Tuesday was Earnest McGlee Slone, 81, of Santa Rosa.

The Sonoma County Coroner's Office on Wednesday released the man's name, which was withheld Tuesday night so his daughter could be notified before the name was made public.

Slone was about to get into his 1969 Cadillac at about 4 p.m. when he was hit.

He was pronounced dead about 25 minutes later. It was the first fatal crash involving a pedestrian in Santa Rosa this year.

His car had been parked on the north side of Occidental Road, just west of Stony Point Road.

Sgt. Brad Conners said the man apparently had just done some food shopping at a nearby grocery store. He lived just blocks away at Valle Vista, a mobile home subdivision for seniors.

Several neighbors on the tidy cul-de-sac where Slone lived remembered him as a gentle man, a "good guy," who had an interest in antique cars and an extensive knowledge of world history.

Ronald Pope, who lived just a few doors down, said he did not know Slone well but that he often saw him sitting in a weathered chair on his front porch, apparently meditating.

"To me he was a very quiet guy; he stuck to himself," Pope recalled. However, when Pope and his wife were away and their dog-sitter got locked out of the house, it was Slone who came over to help.

"He was a gentle soul," said Phyllis Duckworth, who said she lived across from Slone since he moved into the neighborhood about 12 years ago.

Another neighbor, Kurtchen Meyer, said she'd only talked to Slone a couple times, but that he made "beautiful" clocks out of redwood and had once given her one as a gift. She still has it in her home.

A couple small tables made from redwood sat in Slone's front yard outside his pale blue home.

Pope recalled that he often saw Slone park his Cadillac in the same area on Occidental Road where he was hit.

Driver Enrique Sanabria-Ruiz, 47, of Santa Rosa had been driving west in a Chevrolet work truck when he sideswiped the man, according to Santa Rosa police.

The truck had a decal on the side doors for Northern Pacific Corp., a general contractor based in Sonoma. Messages left on the company's main business office phone Tuesday evening and Wednesday went unanswered.

The driver failed a sobriety test. He was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Sanabria-Ruiz remained in the Sonoma County Jail Wednesday, held on $100,000 bail.

Santa Rosa officers kept the stretch of Occidental Road closed for more than five hours for the investigation.

You can reach Staff Writers Jamie Hansen at 521-5205 or and Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or