UC Davis marine biologist Susan Williams dies in Petaluma crash


The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has identified Susan Lynn Williams, 66, a renowned marine biologist, as the driver who died in a six-vehicle collision in Petaluma on Tuesday morning.

Williams, of Bodega Bay, was the director of the University of California at Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay between 2000 and 2010 and a distinguished professor at the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology.

Williams’ research focused on the ecology of near-shore marine ecosystems, including tropical coral reefs and seagrass beds in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Her newest research was based in Indonesia, according to the Bodega Marine Laboratory website.

UPDATE 4/26 Driver in crash that killed UC Davis marine biologist was unlicensed.

Petaluma police said Williams was driving a Toyota Prius east on Lakeville Highway around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday when a westbound Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 19-year-old Petaluma man crossed over solid, double-yellow lines into the eastbound lane and collided head-on with Williams’ vehicle.

The Silverado also struck a Honda Accord driven by a 22-year-old man who was injured but is expected to survive, police Lt. Ron Klein said.

The Silverado driver and a 50-year-old male passenger suffered injuries considered serious but not life-threatening, Klein said.

Three other vehicles sustained minor damage in the collisions near the South McDowell Boulevard Extension, he said.

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