A popular Sonoma family medicine doctor died Tuesday when his vehicle ran off the steep driveway of his Lovall Valley home east of Sonoma.
Dr. Rolf Olness, 72, who still had an active practice in Sonoma, was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
For unknown reasons, his 2010 black Toyoto 4Runner drove off the one-lane driveway as it was headed uphill toward Dr. Olness's residence, in the 3600 block of Lovall Valley Road. It was found about noon Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol, but the Index-Tribune has received information that Olness did not show up for his Tuesday morning appointments, suggesting the accident may have occurred Monday night.
The vehicle apparently rolled at least once and came to rest in a wooded ravine about 20 feet down an embankment. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Sonoma County Coroner.
Firefighters from Schell-Vista Fire Protection and CHP personnel recovered the body and vehicle.
There were no passengers.
An online medical resource said that Dr. Olness was a surgeon affiliated with Sonoma Valley Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He had been in practice for more than 40 years in Sonoma.
Lovall Valley Road is a lengthy but narrow road that winds into the hills and across the Napa County line, but there is no egress to Napa, said CHP officers. Dr. Olness' property is off a spur road, and the driveway is a one-lane approach to his hilltop home.