Sonoma Valley resident Karen Quackenbush died after crashing head-on into a motor home on Lakeville Highway a little after 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25. She was 38.
Quackenbush lived in downtown Sonoma and was a 1998 graduate of Sonoma Valley High School, where she was involved in the media arts program.
According to a longtime former boyfriend, Oscar Rodriguez, she had worked in credit processing for the past 20 years, most recently for the Partners Credit and Verification Solutions office in Sonoma.
“We cared deeply for Karen,” said Tracy King, chief operating officer of PCVS. “This is a tragic loss and our heart goes out to her family, particularly her daughters.”
On Friday night, Quackenbush’s small sedan crossed double yellow lines near Old Lakeville Road No. 1 and moved into the path of the oncoming recreational vehicle.
According to first responders, she was not wearing a seat belt. Whether alcohol or drugs were factors is under investigation.
The five people in the RV, residents of Folsom, California, had moderate and minor injuries.
Quackenbush grew up in Sonoma and attended Sassarini Elementary School and Altimira Middle School before SVHS. She was a single mother raising two young daughters, Sophia and Katie.
“She was a loving mom and those girls were her pride and joy,” said her sister Kathryn. “She worked hard but she loved her life.”
“She was so great with her girls,” said Rodriguez, who dated Quackenbush for more than two years. “She was always working or with them. She called them her ‘little ducks’ and they always came first.”
Quackenbush is also survived by her mother, Mary, and her father, Robert, who was until recently a senior custodian at Adele Harrison Middle School, and sisters Stephanie and Kathryn, her brother Shawn, as well as numerous cousins.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help pay for burial expenses and to set up a care fund for the young girls. (gofundme.com/murxp-karens-legacy)
This is the second fatal crash on Lakeville Highway this month. The first involved a suspected drunken driver who crossed double yellow lines and struck a sedan driven by a Sonoma State University student who died in the impact.
Contact Lorna at firstname.lastname@example.org. With additional reporting by Randi Rossmann.