Santa Rosa firefighters work at the scene of a fatal accident involving a tree-trimming truck and a blue Honda Civic at the intersection of Hwy 12 and Oakmont Drive in Santa Rosa on Thursday, April 2, 2020. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)
A doctor at Santa Rosa Community Health was identified as the man killed Thursday when a tree-trimming truck whose driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs ran a red light and crashed into his car.
Dr. Harry Gee, 69, was remembered by his colleagues as a kind, dedicated man. Known by his coworkers as “Jeff,” he joined the Vista Campus of Santa Rosa Community Health in January because he wanted to help the medically underserved, said Dr. Marie Mulligan, the campus’s medical director.
“He was kind — committed to providing excellent, caring care to his patients,” Mulligan said. “He will be missed.”
Before his death, Gee was in the process of moving to Sonoma County from Daly City with his wife, Mulligan said.
“We were all looking forward to going wine tasting with him and his wife once they made the move,” Mulligan said. “We didn’t get the chance to get to know him as well as we were hoping.”
Gee died Thursday morning after his car was struck on the left side by the tree-trimming truck whose driver, according to the CHP, ran a red light on Highway 12 at Oakmont Drive.
The truck driver — 29-year-old Tanner Robinson, an employee of Santa Rosa-based Atlas Tree service — was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and causing injury while driving under the influence. Robinson previously faced two other DUI charges, one of which was reduced to a lesser charge in a plea deal, said CHP spokesman David deRutte.
Atlas Tree said in a statement that Robinson had been with the company for more than two years and had no driving violations or collisions while driving company vehicles. The statement said that Robinson’s crew members “did not notice any signs that he was not fit for duty prior to the incident.”
Driver of tree-trimming truck suspected of DUI in fatal Santa Rosa crash
Atlas Tree President Rich Kingsborough also said in the statement that the company’s thoughts go out to Gee’s family: “I can’t imagine the pain they are suffering.”
Gee had more than 35 years of experience as a family practitioner in and around San Francisco and Daly City, according to an internal staff email. He completed his residency at San Francisco General Hospital, and spent years training medical students and young physicians for the Dartmouth and Georgetown Medical Schools, and as a volunteer faculty member for UCSF’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.
At the Vista Campus, Gee primarily cared for adults and patients with complex medical conditions. He had an “open, caring approach” with his patients, Mulligan said.
“He took care of their medical conditions and he was curious about their lives and what was important to them,” she said.
Mulligan described Gee as friendly and well liked by his coworkers. She fondly recalled how colleagues would often stumble upon Gee “jamming” to music at his desk — he loved music of all genres, including rap.
When she informed their coworkers of his death Thursday, they were all shocked and heartbroken.
“Even though he was with us a short time, he was a beloved member of our team,” Mulligan said. “There were many moments of his kindness and even tenderness with each and every one of us.” https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10873680-181/daly-city-man-killed-in?sba=AAS