Crime - Sacto 911

Former Sacramento State baseball player among 4 killed by alleged drunk driver

Traffic backs up after the fatal crash on Interstate 80 at San Pablo Dam Road, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.
Traffic backs up after the fatal crash on Interstate 80 at San Pablo Dam Road, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. CHP

Four members of one family have been identified as those killed Saturday night near San Pablo when their car was struck by a repeat DUI offender from Sacramento who was allegedly driving drunk in his Mercedes.

Napa residents Daryl Horn, 50, and his son Joe, 14, were killed in the crash on Interstate 80, according to Deputy Chad Pryor of the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office.

Troy Biddle, 52, and his son Baden, 12, also died in the collision. The Biddles were related to the Horns through marriage, according to the Napa Valley Register, and lived in Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Fred Lowe remains in Contra Costa County Jail on $1.15 million bail after California Highway Patrol officers say he caused the deadly five-car pileup while driving drunk.

Lowe’s license was suspended five times in connection with three DUI convictions between 1999 and 2012, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and was last renewed in 1990. He also pleaded no contest to felony sale of a controlled substance in 2006, per Sacramento County court records. Lowe, 47, was charged again in November 2013 with misdemeanor DUI and pleaded no contest.

The eldest Horn son, Jared, survived with minor injuries, for which CHP-Oakland Officer Matthew Hamer said he received treatment at John Muir Medical Center. Horn is a pitcher on the baseball team at University of California, Berkeley, and has returned home to Napa following his release from the hospital, according to Cal Athletics.

The Horns were a common sight on athletic fields around Napa. Daryl played baseball at Sacramento State from 1988-89 and passed on his gifts for the game to Jared, who was ranked as MLB.com’s No. 22 prospect leading up to the 2016 MLB draft.

“We cannot imagine what Jared is going through right now, and the thoughts and prayers of our entire Cal baseball community are with Jared and his family as they go through this time,” Cal coach Mike Neu wrote in a statement. “Jared is a respected and beloved member of our team as well as an incredible student-athlete, teammate and friend. We will give him any and all support that we can as he goes through this unthinkably difficult time.”

Lowe’s blue Mercedes-Benz sedan was traveling eastbound on I-80 when it struck the Horns’ Nissan sedan headed in the same direction at about 8:20 p.m., Hamer said.

The Nissan flipped over the median into the westbound lane, crashing into a Honda Sedan and two SUVs. Five people from the three westbound vehicles, including one child, suffered minor injuries.

Lowe kept driving and exited the freeway before hitting a parked car, Hamer said. A witness saw him get out of the Mercedes and attempt to flee on foot.

He was later arrested and booked on five charges: vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence resulting in bodily injury, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level over 0.08 percent, felony hit-and-run resulting in death or injury and driving on a suspended license.

All westbound I-80 lanes and one eastbound lane remained closed for approximately six hours, Hamer said, as authorities collected evidence into Sunday morning.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel. The Bee’s Darrell Smith contributed.

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