Deputy fire marshal ID'd as victim in mysterious crash
Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
(07-03) 14:06 PDT CROCKETT -- A deputy fire marshal from the Richmond Fire Department died Monday after his car mysteriously crashed on the Carquinez Bridge, officials said.
Police are investigating why Ron Wiley's department vehicle drifted out of the fast lane on westbound Interstate 80 around 4:36 p.m. and bumped the right shoulder several times before coming to a stop and eventually bursting into flames, said California Highway Patrol Officer M.A. Williford. Investigators do not believe alcohol played a factor in the accident, he said, and are looking for anyone who witnessed the moments preceding the crash.
Wiley, 47, was with the department for 16 years, working first as a firefighter and then as a deputy marshal, said firefighter Rico Rincon. Wiley is survived by his 24-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter, Rincon said. His wife passed away last August after battling cancer.
"He was a great person -- we were talking this morning about how anybody who met Ron knew Ron, and never forgot him. He left a long-lasting impression," said Rincon. "It's a little tough today. Everyone in the department is leaning on each other for support. There's a very obvious change in demeanor and morale at the fire stations."
Wiley was driving back from a meeting in Vallejo and was near the middle of the bridge when he crashed his car, officials said. Several people said they saw smoke coming from the vehicle after it crashed, and a moment later it burst into flames, Williford said. Police arriving at the scene found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames, he added.
CHP investigators are waiting for a coroner's report to review the cause of death, and are also inspecting the vehicle, a Richmond Fire white Ford Crown Victoria, Williford said. They are also looking for anyone who saw Wiley driving prior to the crash, he said. Anyone with information can call dispatch at (707) 551-4100.
E-mail Marisa Lagos at firstname.lastname@example.org.