Winters resident Christopher Mendoza, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene after being struck by a vehicle while walking in the slow lane on Interstate 505 on Sunday, March 25. His identity was confirmed by the Solano County Coroner’s office on Monday, March 26.
According to David Harvey, public information officer for the Solano County office of the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 2:19 a.m. while Mendoza was walking in southbound lane number two, just north of Midway Road. He was hit by a Ford Escalade. The unidentified driver, a 45-year-old resident of Oakley, did not leave the scene and was not cited. Harvey said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be a factor with the driver, but it is unknown at this time if it was a factor with the deceased.
Although there were rumors that a second vehicle hit Mendoza and left the scene, Harvey said that information is “unconfirmed.” Also unknown at this time is whether Mendoza was walking southbound or northbound, or why he set out on foot. Other details about the accident are still under investigation.
Mendoza was a native of Winters, who attended school here. News of his death left friends and acquaintances heartbroken and shocked.
A memorial page honoring Mendoza has been created on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Mendoza-Memorial-Page-356220528119220/, where friends and family are invited to remember him and grieve their loss.
Some remembrances about Mendoza on the Facebook page include:
“Vibrant and full of life. He made everybody feel loved and he was able to make people happy and not feel alone. His mission was to live life with no regrets and bring people with him.” ~ Stephanie Chávez Young.
“He was such a great friend, an incredible listener, and always a willing shoulder to lean on. I could say so much more, but I figured keep it simple since so many will have so many great things to say.” ~ Krista Duplantis
“He was the embodiment of adventure, he made everything fun even the most mundane things. Always the funniest person in the room, he’s the only person that I’ve ever known that could make me laugh while I was crying. He had that gift, where he made everyone he talked to feel like the most important person. He was so unbelievably special.” ~ Rose Lonita
“Chris had a presence that took up the whole room — a big guy with a big, confident personality. He made everyone laugh, he was always ‘that guy.’ We weren’t close but he is so closely entwined with my experience of growing up in Winters that it feels inconceivable for him to be gone.” ~ Janine Ramos
“I honestly cannot think of one bad thing about the guy. He wasn’t a bully, never mean to anyone that I can remember. I can’t even remember him angry or upset about anything. He was just always there, content with everything in life. There wasn’t anyone he couldn’t just chill with and have a few good laughs. Until we meet again my old friend.” ~ Brent Hardy
Funeral arrangements were unknown at press time.
Because the case is still under investigation, anyone with details about the accident or the events leading up to it is asked to call Officer Matthew Barawed at the Solano CHP office, 707 428-2100.