A 77-year-old man died 18 days after he was in a head-on collision on a hazardous portion of Highway 12 at Tower Park Marina, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Thomas Rosten, an engineer for about 10 local reclamation districts in the Delta, including one in the Tower Park area, died on March 21 at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.
Rosten is the latest in a series of accident victims who have died during the past decade from injuries on the portion of Highway 12 that crosses the Delta from Lodi to Suisun City.
"It is a dangerous road, but it's just like the rest of the farm roads," Rosten's wife, Ramona Rosten, said. "All the people from the Bay Area like to take those roads because the freeways are too crowded."
Ramona Rosten said that commuters and big-rigs drive too fast on Highway 12.
CHP Officer Angel Arcero said that Highway 12 hazards are caused by faulty driving, not the road.
Tom Rosten was heading to a meeting with California Department of Fish and Game to review recent levee work at Tower Park at about 10 a.m. on March 3 when the collision occurred, according to Dan Nomellini Jr., an attorney for several Delta reclamation districts, including the one that maintains levees in the Tower Park area.
Driving a 2001 Ford Explorer west on Highway 12, Rosten made a left turn into the path of a big-rig truck driven by Joel Stevens, 24, of Manteca, Arcero said.
Stevens swerved to the right, but struck Rosten's SUV head-on, Arcero said. The Explorer spun counterclockwise and stopped facing northeast in the westbound lane, he added.
"There was lots of internal bleeding and broken bones," Nomellini said.
Rosten suffered several broken ribs, his breast bone was cracked and his liver was damaged, Ramona Rosten said.
"He wasn't able to talk," she said. "He had a tube down his throat."
Despite being 77 years old, Tom Rosten remained active in the reclamation districts, Nomellini said. He had trained Dominick Guuli, of Green Mountain Engineering, for the past few years and had slowly turned over the reins to him.
"Up until the end, Tom was very active," Nomellini said. "It's a big loss to not have Tom around, that's for sure."
Tom Rosten is survived by a daughter in Hawaii; two stepdaughters, one from Sacramento and another from Stockton; several grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at noon Thursday at Garlic Brothers Restaurant, 6629 Embarcadero Drive, Stockton. It is west of Interstate 5 off Benjamin Holt Drive.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.