A driver killed in a car crash in west Santa Rosa over the weekend was identified Monday as a Piner High graduate and local hot rod car enthusiast.
Scott Dufford, 47, of Santa Rosa, appeared to have suffered a medical emergency and lost control of his 1957 Ford Fairlane on Stony Point Road, his family said.
Dufford worked as a pipe fitter with Trane, an air conditioning systems manufacturer based in Davidson, N.C., and was engaged to Jill Steiner, 46, who was also in the car when it crashed.
Witnesses told police the southbound car veered off the roadway near West Ninth Street and rode partially up onto the center median strip. The Fairlane traveled on the median for several hundred feet and then back into the southbound lanes, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Rich Celli said.
The car then went off the roadway and hit a large tree near Santa Rosa Creek. Dufford died shortly after the 4:30 p.m. crash, officials said.
Steiner suffered a concussion as well as cuts and bruises, Celli said.
The couple became engaged in the fall and lived together in Santa Rosa with Steiner's 16-year-old daughter, said Dufford's father, Ken Dufford of Santa Rosa.
"They were so much looking forward to getting married," his father said.
Dufford has two sons, Jacob, 20, and Steven, who is about 26.
Dufford grew up watching his father race cars in Ukiah and Lakeport. Dufford and his brother, Mike Dufford of Santa Rosa, took after their father's hobby and tinkered on old cars together.
"Scott was mechanically inclined. He'd figure them out himself," his brother said. "I was more the detail guy, the painter."
Dufford was 16 years old when he bought his first car from a neighbor, a dark grey 1931 Model-A coupe with a Ford flathead motor, his father said. He was hooked.
He drove a 1957 Chevrolet to Piner High and graduated in 1983. He later worked alongside his father as a pipe fitter. He was a proud member of the UA Local 38 Plumbers and Pipefitters, his brother said.
An autopsy scheduled for later this week will help determine if a medical emergency caused the crash.
Police don't suspect alcohol was involved, although toxicology tests were pending, Celli said.
The couple was apparently on their way to a friend's home to pick up a car, Celli said.
Officers closed Stony Point Road between West Ninth Street and Glenbrook Drive for about seven hours for the investigation.
The Fairlane, which appeared to be in the process of being fixed up, will be evaluated for any mechanical problems.