Cyclist killed in suspected DUI crash identified as Petaluma artist and father of two

A Petaluma artist, whose work included murals at The Phoenix Theater, was struck and killed Tuesday by a wrong-way driver police suspect was impaired by prescription drugs.|

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The bicyclist hit and killed Tuesday morning in Petaluma by a driver police suspect was impaired by prescription drugs was a devoted father of two young children and a talented graffiti artist, his relatives said.

The Sonoma County Coroner’s Office identified the cyclist Wednesday as Bryan Cacy, 39, of Petaluma.

Petaluma police think he was struck while riding in the westbound lane of the Highway 101 overpass on Corona Road by a white Honda Accord driven by John Dethlefsen, 65, also of Petaluma. The driver was going east and crossed over to the wrong side of the road, police said. Cacy died at the scene.

After allegedly hitting Cacy, police said Dethlefsen struck an oncoming Ford truck before coming to a stop, authorities said.

Dethlefsen was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter and booked into the Sonoma County Jail. He remained in custody Wednesday on $100,000 bail, the jail’s website showed.

Sarah Paine, Cacy’s longtime partner, said she was devastated by his death, which occurred on a day he opted to ride his bicycle to work to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

While Cacy had a construction career, his true calling was as a graffiti artist, Paine said.

His work included murals at The Phoenix Theater in downtown Petaluma and at a Sebastopol skate park, though he also enjoyed drawing on canvasses.

Cacy’s passion for art only was surpassed by his love for their two children, a 7-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, as well as his three adult stepchildren from her previous marriage, Paine said.

“Every school event, every sporting event ... if he wasn’t working, he would never miss a practice,” Paine said. “He loved being a dad and a stepdad. It was his personality.”

Lynn Cacy Surick, Cacy’s mother, said her son displayed his passion for art with various tattoos that adorned his body. Many of them, like one that read “Family First” on the back of his head, represented his devotion to his family, Paine said.

“He was covered in tattoos because to him, that was art,” his mother said. “He loved his children and his art, and that’s pretty much what he lived for.”

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the coroner’s unit, notified Cacy Surick of her son’s death by phone Tuesday night at her home in Texas, where she recently had moved to retire.

“I felt like the Earth stood still,” Cacy Surick, who will return to Sonoma County by Thursday, said of the call. “I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s the worst day you can imagine.”

It could take up to four weeks for Petaluma officers to get the results of a toxicology test given to Dethlefsen after the crash, though the officers who responded to the scene noted Dethlefsen had trouble standing up and made a comment about taking prescription drugs, Petaluma Police Lt. Brian Miller said.

Officers had not yet determined what direction Cacy was riding his bike when he was hit. They hope interviews with relatives may shed light on that, Miller said. Neither Dethlefsen nor the driver of the truck were injured.

Police on Wednesday continued to look for witnesses to the fatal crash and asked people with information about it to contact Petaluma Police Traffic Officer Chris Ricci at 707-781-1275.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or

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