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Napa Man Dies in Accident South of Sonoma

Mark Steven Heinemann died on Highway 121 Saturday, after losing control of his vehicle.

A 50-year-old man died after losing control of his car in the rain on Highway 121 south of Sonoma on Saturday.

Mark Steven Heinemann was traveling southbound when his Porsche turned sideways on a curve, Highway Patrol Officer John Bigelow told Patch. The vehicle crossed into the northbound lane and was broadsided by an oncoming car.

Heineman, a Napa resident, died at the scene, Bigeolow said. His passenger and the driver of the oncoming Chrysler PT Cruiser were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries.

The accident happened just south of Viansa Winery, at about 2:30 p.m.

Bigelow said Heinemann had been driving too fast for the conditions.

The speed of the vehicle, was unknown, Bigelow said.

"Just based on what happened, it appears he was going too fast," he said.

Christian Kallen December 25, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I'm taking down a couple comments that are directly and personally insulting, and future comments on this article will be approved by the editor before they are published, so you may not see them right away. Please in what they call the spirit of the season, be generous with your thoughts. Merry Christmas.
Vicki Wolf December 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Thank you Shelly! Well said. Free speech is a wonderful thing until it is said with vile and misunderstanding, and a hard heart. I always think when I read poorly worded comments that what goes around comes around. One can NEVER understand until it happens close to home in some way. However everyone can question in a kind manner if they choose to.....
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" December 25, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Shandra the comments are constructive We debate news topics on this site. The simple fact the story made the news opens it up for discussion. I agree that the full story needs to come from the CHP and witness statements. I also agree with Christian Kallen taking some a personally insulting posts away this is a website with rules. We must assume that weather and road conditions, Had a major role in the crash. Please continue to discuss this topic with us as the story unfolds.
Sarah M. December 26, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Thanks to all those who left kind, thoughtful comments. To those who did not, my response is simply that I normally don't respond to online comments for just this reason. In this case, I felt the need to make an exception. Mark was my brother in law, and regardless of the circumstances, this is a tragedy for those who knew and loved him. Again, thanks to all those who expressed their condolences.
Sarah M. December 26, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Mark was my brother in law. I certainly am glad that your MIL is recovering. Thank you for your comments - so well said. Rest assured that Mark's passenger is recovering as well and yes, she is a relative.
Segway Napa December 26, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I'm so very sorry to hear this. Mark was such a nice guy, he had a smile for everyone.
Nile Z December 26, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Mark was a friend and colleague of mine. His passing is a reminder to all of us to slow down and appreciate those around us and the moments that we have with them. He will be missed as will his wonderful spirit of life. Our love goes out to all affected in this tragedy.
Shandra Knego December 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM
To Sarah M - I'm so glad to hear Mark's daughter is recovering and we are so incredibly sad for your loss. I can only imagine how difficult & painful this holiday season is for you & the rest of Mark's family. You have our deepest condolences.
CanadianinNapa December 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Not cool people : "driving too fast for the conditions... The speed of the vehicle, was unknown"...then how do they know he was driving too fast if 'The speed of the vehicle, was unknown' Leave the families alone. Merry Christmas
Mark Mathews December 28, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Who made you moderator? When did this become a page for other than questioning comments?
Mark Mathews December 28, 2012 at 01:59 AM
For all of you who have taken issue with my comments; It was the story, not I, which stated qualified and experienced on-scene law enforcement reported that speed was involved; was the Officer insensitive to have volunteered that data? Should he have said “No Comment?” Should law enforcement refuse to provide ANY pertinent information relating to such an accident until some undefined time span expires for sympathetic reflections and mourning? Having driven, accident free, for over four decades (and often AT the scene where this accident occurred) and having seen the results of too many speeding drivers (not the vehicles, the drivers) and not desiring to wait until I, a relative of mine, nor any other driver becomes yet another victim of a speeding driver (again, the story); and being utterly fed up with being passed, one after another, day by day, by mostly Mercedes, Beamers and yes, Porches, I offer my own anger back at you. I am fed up with speeders… I suppose some out there are not, unwilling to lay blame where it belongs, according to professional investigators who were at the scene and reported here. This is a news comment section, not the memorial board of a memorial funeral home.
Cam December 28, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I agree with Mark Mathews point & see nothing wrong with his comments & questions. There were others hurt in this accident that I also feel are being too quickly shoved aside to "be respectful" to the deceased driver's family. His reportedly faulty judgement & actions SHOULD be discussed in this open forum, because many of us make exactly the same poor judgements. Where I don't agree is the name-calling or 'holier-than-thou' judgements that serve no purpose in looking at an issue that could hit any one of us. Nice guys do make poor choices, too. My sympathies to all the families involved.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" December 28, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I agree with Mark and cams 12/27 points. Patch any update to this story will you post when and if?
Julie Pendray (Editor) December 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I spoke with the Coroner's office. An autopsy was performed Dec. 24th, & it included toxicology tests. Results won't be returned for about another month, due to the holidays. Normal turn-around is 3.5 to 4 weeks. Toxicology tests are mandatory on all vehicle accidents, the staff person told me, so I would add that this, in itself, indicates nothing different than the story mentioned. I am simply addressing readers' questions & concerns in this thread.
Julie Pendray (Editor) December 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Also, as with any accident, law enforcement officers arrive after the accident, not as it is happening. They make their assessments to the best of their knowledge at the time, by looking at the road conditions, vehicle damage, how the vehicle traveled across the road, talking to witnesses, etc. But at the end of the day, it is an assessment only, based on how things appeared. I don't imagine they intend it as a judgment. Autopsies shed more light, if there is, in fact, any more to learn. Regardless, we send our condolences to Heinemann's loved ones & wishes for recovery for all impacted by this event.
Rick R. Johnson December 29, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Amy, I was 4 cars behind the PT Cruiser that hit Mark. It did not appear to me that Mark was going too fast. It was drizzly and overcast and sometimes stuff just happens. We were there for about an hour while CHP and the Fire Department did their best to help. Mark was dead on impact. My thoughts and prayers are wity you and your family. My condolences. God bless.
K December 29, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Nice assumptions Mark...NOT!!!!! He did not have an estate. Mark was a friend of the family how about some compassion. He paid the ultimate price, isn't that enough? It is sad indeed that people are hurt one of them is his family member who will now have to go on without him. Should those of us left behind have to hear the painful comments left behind by all of you who feel the need to be lacking in compassion. I am sure you have never driven over the speed limit right? Thank you George and Jan (below for you compassion.
Charlie Potatoe December 29, 2012 at 08:19 AM
Perhaps you ought to sleep on it before posting such a judgmental comment. We all read the account, and yes, we all know that one slows down in the rain. But a man's life has ended-it's over. Have some reverence and respect for that fact alone. You can dance the superior dance in a few days just hold off for a spell. PS. And too many people are writing 'to' instead of 'too'. Come on, I am assuming you're all adults. Okay, except for Michael Keaton here (Republican Kid).
Chuck Dyson December 29, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Mark Mathews needs to get a life. Only a person who is lacking many things in their own life would make the comments that you have made. The problem with the world today is people judge and say insensitive and inaccurate things without truly knowing the facts. You actually thinking your comments are acceptable and those that have agreed with you just don't get it. Being inappropriate is quite chic these days...you are not alone. Classy behavior seems to be reserved for the minority. I suspect if you are wrong an apology will be forthcoming???? Yeh right
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" December 29, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Chuck Mark Mathews Has a right to his opinion. Chuck you have a right to yours. We will not know if drugs or alcohol played a part in the wreck for some time. It could have been bad driving or just the rain. Question to the Family posting here. Has Mr Heinemanns passinger given any indication as to what took place?
Rich Tanguay December 29, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I am so sorry for your loss Amy and the whole Heinemann family. I knew and worked with Mark (ordered his barrels) over the years and he was a wonderful man.
Lynn December 30, 2012 at 06:54 AM
I agree Patrick, good comment. In other words Driving to fast for conditions is different than going over speed limit ... and there is no facts listed here of actual speed of car at time of accident, only rude false accusations trying to defame a genuinely smart sincere friendly and kind hearted neighbor of mine. Nice to see the good hearts of those who have posted genuine concern for all affected and I agree SHAME On those of you who are RUDE and RUDELY putting out selfish self centered gossip at a time like this before all the facts are in or just in general being insensitive to all concerned
Shelly December 30, 2012 at 02:21 PM
How nice it is to read Rick R. Johnsons comments. The comments are getting posted out of order, so its good to hear from someone who was actually there on sight...instead of speculating & leaving rude, insensitive comments. Maybe this will help keep Mark Mathews quiet. As K said...Mark lost his life...he has paid the ultimate price? We don't need to hear comments about how much Mark Mathews hates speeders. We get it! Editor - for the respect of the Heinemann family, please do not allow the insensitive comments to be posted. You block comments from people who have defended Mark H. to proctect his dignity, but allow the insensitive rants & personal attacks against a man who is no longer here to defend himself?
Julie Pendray (Editor) December 30, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Comments are being viewed by Napa and Sonoma editors before they're posted, so you may see a tiny time lapse before they appear. We did take action regarding some of the comments. Some inflammatory ones were removed & one poster was suspended several days ago due to the nature of the repeated comments. That said, this is a news site and readers do have the right to comment on news articles from their viewpoint, as long as they abide by our terms of use & are not not repeatedly derogatory, etc. I'm not familiar with anything in defense of the driver that was removed. Your point is well taken, though Shelly. Thank you for contributing.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" December 30, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Thanks Julie Some only want the free press to report on convenient to them stories. Thanks to the whole patch netwark. Happy New Year all
Julie Pendray (Editor) December 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Happy New Year to you too. On a more cheerful note, here's a recap of video from the year in Sonoma Valley http://patch.com/A-0GKN Not sure if you are from Napa or Sonoma. Gorgeous place to live, on either side of the hill. :)
Shelly December 30, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Thank you, Julie. I understand that everyone has a right to say how they feel. But the comments from two individuals were completely uncalled for (one person inparticular). A 15 year old & a 17 year old has lost their father. One of whom was traveling with him. These girls are going through enough & I would sure hate for one of them to read these rude comments about their father. My daughter is one of Mark's daughters best friends. She was appalled after reading the heartless comments & said she hopes her friend never reads them. For those that knew Mark, understand why these comments are unnecessary. He was the most genuine, caring man, who always had a smile on his face.
Shelly December 30, 2012 at 07:45 PM
And to Republican Kid with your upside down flag...of course I'm going to comment on an article when I know the person involved who is being slandered by you & Mark Mathews. I'm apologize that I'm a busy career woman & Mom of three that doesn't sit around & blog on every article posted. Happy New Year! Let it be POSITIVE New Year!
Christian Kallen December 31, 2012 at 01:12 AM
The Napa Register ran an obituary for Mark Heinemann on Saturday; here is the link. http://napavalleyregister.com/obituaries/mark-steven-heinemann/article_968eb626-4ff7-11e2-87c5-0019bb2963f4.html
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Patch staff any update to this story?

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