A Lodi man was killed early Sunday morning when he was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver on Davis Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office on Monday identified 59-year-old Domenico Dennis Zagaroli as the driver of a vehicle carrying two other passengers at the time of the accident.

Zagaroli was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze north on Davis Road just north of Eight Mile Road at about 1:50 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the CHP.

Zagaroli stopped for a passing train, and had just started to accelerate when a 1991 Jeep Wrangler approached from behind and failed to slow down, the CHP said.

The Wrangler collided with the Cruze, spinning it clockwise and forcing it into a railroad crossing guard arm. The Jeep ended up disabled in the middle of the road, the CHP said.

Zagaroli died at the scene and his passengers were taken to area hospitals for minor to moderate injuries, officers reported.

The driver of the Jeep, identified by CHP Sgt. James Smith as 52-year-old Donald Beyette of Carson City, Nev., was taken to the UC Davis Medical Center with major injuries.

CHP officers who were at the scene suspect that Beyette was driving under the influence, and reported that alcohol will be a considered a factor during the investigation.

Zagaroli was a longtime architect with LDA Partners, LLP of Stockton. He was involved with just about every project the firm worked on, business partner Eric Wohle said.

Two of those projects included the Wine & Roses Inn and Spa and the accompanying Lodi Visitors Center at 2505 W. Turner Road, as well Lucas Winery’s tasting room at 18196 Davis Road.

Wohle confirmed Zagaroli’s passengers were his daughter and her boyfriend. Both are 29.

He said his partner was one of the most kind and generous people he had known.

“It didn’t matter what you were talking about — if you had five minutes to talk, he’d turn it into 10,” Wohle said. “He was very kind in that regard.”

Zagaroli was a gifted architect with the ability to take all kinds of materials and turn them into interesting things when drawing up plans, Wohle said.

“Watching him with construction drawings was like watching Mozart at the piano,” he said. “He had a lot to do with the heart and soul of this place. He made it fun to work here.”

Family members could not be reached for comment. Smith did not know the condition of Zagaroli’s daughter or her boyfriend.

Contact reporter Wes Bowers at wesb@lodinews.com.


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