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Updated: Local vineyard consultant dies in Highway 121 car crash

Debra Dell Zygielbaum of Boyes Hot Springs died Thursday in a car crash on Highway 121, according to the Napa County coroner’s office. She was 44.

The 1 p.m. collision involved a truck pulling a tractor and a sedan on northbound Highway 121 at Haire Lane near the Sonoma County line, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Zygielbaum was the former vineyard manager for Robert Sinskey Vineyards and was a member of the board of directors at the Napa County Farm Bureau.

“Debby was a vibrant member of the Board of Directors and actively involved in many aspects of the Napa County Farm Bureau,” said the Farm Bureau staff in a statement on Friday. “She led the Napa Organic Group which focused on sustainable farming practices and was actively involved in the Farm Bureau’s political and community education endeavors.”

On her personal website, Zygielbaum wrote that she was raised in Southern California, and that her lifelong fascination with creeping, crawling, flying, walking, running and rooting things inspired her to pursue a career as a conservationist.

In 1995, she earned a degree in biology and women’s studies at Scripps College. Her first job after college was as a horticulturist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, devoted to the conservation of California native plants.

Zygielbaum moved to Northern California in 2001. At the time of her death, she was working as a vineyard farm consultant.

The CHP said a truck driven by Luis Castillo-Reyes, 34, of Santa Rosa was southbound when it crossed into the northbound sedan’s path, causing a head-on collision. Zygielbaum was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is a painful and heartbreaking loss for our entire organization, Debby’s family and friends, as well as our entire community,” Ryan Klobas, CEO of Napa County Farm Bureau & Napa County Farm Bureau Foundation.

A memorial service for Zygielbaum is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, at Eggen & Lance Chapel at 1540 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

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