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  • Hudson Sangree / hsangree@sacbee.com

    Authorities continue to search for four men missing after a speedboat wreck that happened Saturday on Folsom Lake.

  • Lezlie Sterling / lsterling@sacbee.com

    A Placer County Sheriff's boat is seen patrolling the waters at Folsom Lake after three people are presumed dead in a single vessel accident, Saturday, May 10, 2014.

UPDATE: Officials identify body of fourth boater killed in Folsom Lake crash

Published: Tuesday, May. 20, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, May. 20, 2014 - 6:34 am

Authorities recovered the body Monday of the fourth man who died in a May 10 speedboat crash on Folsom Lake. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office later identified the body as that of Kenneth Smith, 48. He initially had been identified by state park officials as Jon Smith.

State park and sheriff’s officials said the body was recovered in an area of Folsom Lake where the remains of three other passengers on the boat were found in recent days.

An El Dorado County sheriff’s patrol vessel located the fourth body about 3 p.m. Monday off the tip of the peninsula on the south fork side of the lake, according to a California Department of Parks and Recreation news release. The crew initiated recovery of the body and notified the coroner.

On Friday, state Parks and Recreation personnel discovered the first of the bodies, which was identified Saturday as James Andrew Strauch, 47. The bodies of his brother, Toby Strauch, 54, and Gerald Jacobs, 53, were recovered Saturday afternoon. All four men are from the Sacramento area.

The group’s Skater 32 speedboat was believed to have been traveling at more than 100 mph when it crashed.

Shortly after the accident, Smith’s friends remembered him as a joyful, easygoing car mechanic with a passion for the outdoors and things that could go fast. He was a service manager at a local car dealership and worked on cars for decades.

“He was a real smart guy,” said Rich Ehisen, a reporter for State Net Capitol Journal and a longtime friend to Smith. “He was always happy, always had a smile, always good with people.”

Smith, who was not married and did not have children, recently became romantically involved with a new partner and “it looked like he was the happiest he had ever been in his life,” Ehisen said.

When not working on cars, Smith often could be found hunting in the forest or fishing at the river, Ehisen said.

Ken Klima, the parts manager at Future Nissan of Roseville, worked with Smith for years at another car dealership. Few local mechanics were as good at fixing cars as Smith, he said, adding that the owner at one dealership where the two worked would let only Smith fix his personal car and boat.

“He’s kind of a hard guy not to like,” Klima said. “He had issues like the rest of us, but he didn’t seem to mind.”


Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287. Phillip Reese and Tillie Fong contributed to this report.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke



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