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Sonoma State student dies in head-on collision with recycling truck

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has identified a driver who died in a head-on collision with a Recology garbage truck early Friday morning in unincorporated Sonoma County as Brayan Alain Pena Rodriguez, 23, of Santa Rosa.

Pena Rodriguez was a fourth-year student at Sonoma State University who was a week away from graduating, according to the school. Sonoma State President Judy Sasaki wrote in a message to the campus community Monday that Pena Rodriguez “was a beloved member of our Seawolf community” who was an active member of a community service program at the school and majored in sociology and women’s and gender studies. He was driving a Honda Civic east in the westbound lane of River Road around 4:45 a.m. Friday when it collided with the recycling truck that was traveling in the westbound lane near the U.S. Highway 101 overpass north of Santa Rosa, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Recology truck driver, a 50-year-old Santa Rosa man, braked and Pena Rodriguez tried to swerve to avoid the truck before the collision, CHP Officer David deRutte said.

The truck driver was not injured, and Pena Rodriguez died at the scene, deRutte said.

Sonoma State is offering counseling support for students and it can be accessed at (707) 664-2153. Counseling is also available for faculty and staff at (707) 526-3244.

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