A 63-year-old Sonoma motorcyclist died Saturday night in a crash, CHP officials said, when he ran into a vehicle making a left turn.
Thomas Donald Rienecker was riding west on Highway 12 about 9:10 p.m. when his bike collided with a vehicle making a left-hand turn toward a driveway near Specht Road, according to a report by the CHP.
Driver Lauren Simpson-Gomez, 20, of Sonoma was in a turn lane on eastbound Highway 12 when she drove “directly into the path” of the oncoming motorcyclist and “failed to yield,” a CHP officer said in the report. She was driving a 2006 Toyota Highlander SUV.
Rienecker was thrown from his bike, a 1981 BMW. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, according to the CHP. His identity was reported on Monday, after his family was notified.
His passing is mourned by friends and acquaintances on his Facebook page, where he lists his previous work as a stagehand, camera operator mechanic, machinist and computer operator. Several photos on his Facebook page show Rienecker racing motorcycles and fixing bikes.