rohnert park

Sonoma State Student Dies After Being Hit by Car Near Campus


A 21-year-old Sonoma State University student died Monday afternoon after being hit by a car near the campus in Rohnert Park, authorities said.

The student was crossing East Cotati Avenue, from Wolf Den Plaza toward the university, about noon when he was hit by a black 2015 Ford Fusion headed westbound, according to Rohnert Park police.

It was initially reported as a hit-and-run because witnesses told officers that the car left the area after hitting the pedestrian.  Police, however, said the driver called authorities within minutes to say that he had just been involved in a collision.

The student, a Rohnert Park man whose name has not been released, died at the scene.

It appears that he was not in a crosswalk when he stepped off the center median and the driver couldn't stop for him, police said.

Officers found the driver, Ronald Gaither, 19, of Penngrove, nearby with his car on Roman Drive and he cooperated with investigators, according to police.

Investigators are looking into whether inattention or distraction contributed to the collision, by either Gaither or the student.

Police will also try to determine how fast Gaither's car was traveling at the time of the collision.

Gaither was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation. It does not appear alcohol or drugs to the collision, police said.

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