Married Nike Executives Die After Lumber On Truck Hits Them During Napa Valley Bike Ride

Public/Screenshot/YouTube — User: KPIX | CBS News Bay Area

John Oyewale Contributor
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A couple who worked as Nike executives were killed Tuesday when lumber slid off a passing flatbed truck and struck them as they were cycling through California’s Napa Valley, reports say.

Christian Deaton, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene, while his wife, 48-year-old Michelle Deaton, died in hospital, The Oregonian reported. The pair had been married for 21 years and were visiting the area from Portland, Oregon. They were biking on the Silverado Trail at around 11 a.m. when lumber in the back of a flatbed truck shifted and hung out of the vehicle, striking the cyclists as the truck moved to pass them on the road, the outlet reported, citing a statement from the California Highway Patrol.

The truck was traveling at 40 mph, under the posted speed limit of 55 mph. The truck driver pulled over and stayed at the scene along with witnesses who stopped to attend to the cyclists, according to the outlet.

Friends said the pair were outdoorsy and amiable. “They shared so much love for each other,” said a friend and former colleague, Elizabeth LeMay, per The Oregonian. “They were a couple you come across once in a lifetime.” (RELATED: ‘Rising Star’ Athlete Dies At 17 After Being Struck By Car While Training)

Christian worked as VP of product and merchandising at NIKE Swim’s Perry Ellis International, and Michelle was an EQ Design studio director, according to their respective LinkedIn pages.

Napa County Bicycle Coalition described the crash as an “enormous, preventable loss” in a Facebook post mourning the fatal incident. Some cyclists choose not to ride along the stretch of the Silverado Trail where the crash occurred due to cases of drivers speeding or driving under the influence after visiting the wineries, the coalition’s executive director, Kara Vernor, told The Oregonian. Napa Valley is famous for its vineyards and wineries.

A video of the scene of the crash, published by KPIX/CBS News Bay Area, showed the bicycles lying on the verge and officers present.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, but has not indicated whether or not it will file criminal charges against the truck driver, a 55-year-old man from Vallejo whose name has not been released publicly, per the San Francisco Chronicle.