Driver killed in River Road head-on crash with garbage truck identified

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The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified a man killed last week in a head-on crash with a Recology garbage truck.

The man was Brayan Alain Pena Rodriguez, 23, of Santa Rosa, according to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum.

Rodriguez was a student at Sonoma State University who was nearing graduation, SSU President Judy Sakaki said in a statement. He majored in sociology and women’s and gender studies. He was a member of the Associated Students at Sonoma State, as well as the Queer Student Alliance, MEChA de Sonoma and Ballet Folklórico on campus.

“We extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to his family and friends. This is indeed a sad time for our campus,” Sakaki said in the statement.

Rodriguez was driving a 1994 Honda Civic eastbound on River Road at 4:44 a.m. Friday when he crossed into the oncoming lane, the CHP said. His car was hit by the Recology truck as it finished cresting a hill.

The Recology truck driver tried to brake, but the weight of the truck on the downhill slope prevented it from stopping in time, according to CHP spokesman David deRutte.

Rodriguez tried to swerve out of the way but was unable to do so in time, deRutte said. Rodriguez died at the crash site.

The driver of the truck was not injured, and authorities do not believe he did anything wrong, deRutte said.

You can reach Staff Writer Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or On Twitter @iambeale.

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