fatal crash 01

Emergency officials investigate the scene of a fatal accident along Eastbound Interstate 80 about a half mile East of the American Canyon Road exit in Vallejo, Friday morning. For unknown reasons the brakes of the vehicle locked causing the driver to go up an embankment where he was killed on impact. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Man dies in I-80 crash

By From page A3 | March 22, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A 65-year-old man from Emeryville was killed Friday morning in a solo vehicle accident on eastbound Interstate 80 about a half-mile east of American Canyon Road.

Richard Chinn died in the accident that happened at about 9:20 a.m. along this freeway stretch between Fairfield and Vallejo. California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Parker said a witness described the man as driving at 65 mph on the freeway when he locked his brakes for unknown reasons.

This section of I-80 has its eastbound and westbound lanes separated by an embankment. The man’s Subaru Legacy sedan skidded on the freeway, went up the embankment and landed on its front before ending up on its side, partly on the embankment and partly in the center divide emergency lane.

The front end of the car was left crumpled. The roof over the driver’s side was smashed.

Parker said the man was wearing a seatbelt, but was killed by the violence of the impact.

The CHP issued a traffic alert. Traffic backed up only for about a quarter-mile. Three of the four eastbound lanes remained open.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 15 comments

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  • Sue SmithMarch 21, 2014 - 10:16 pm

    Such a horrific tragedy!! He was on his way to give the eulogy of his uncle, Franklin J. Chinn, Sr., M.D., in Sacramento. The family was waiting and wondering until word was received this afternoon. The third family member to pass in 10 days. Our hearts break for all the Chinn family.

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  • Kristianna BertelsenMarch 22, 2014 - 12:10 pm

    Dr. Chinn's colleagues and patients are remembering him now, so terribly sorry not to have been able to say good-bye. He was always full of jokes and managed to make his patients laugh, even in the dentist's chair. Many heartfelt condolences to the family.

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  • Tamara DouglasApril 14, 2014 - 10:48 am

    My heart is deeply saddened of the passing of Dr. Chinn. He was my family dentist for 29 years and my parents dentist for 30 yrs. He came to my mom's funeral back in 2007 and that made me and my father feel so good. He always made me smile. He nicknamed me "Tammy." I go by Tam but Dr. Chinn was the only one allowed to call me that. He had a very kind a sweet heart. When I lost my dental benefits, he worked with me on a payment plan just so I could continue to come. Was looking forward to seeing him in May but I know God loved him more. The Douglas Family

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  • AudreyApril 22, 2014 - 9:50 pm

    When we received a call from his office to cancel an appt, I thought it to be very odd...that never happened in the 32 years he was our family dentist. We just learned today of his passing and are completely in shock and saddened. 32 years of his jokes and the teasing I would always give him on his old tv and lack of cellphone finesse are fond memories. When he finally bought a cellphone we welcomed him into the 21st century..lol. Heart felt condolences to his family.

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  • L SeeleyMay 02, 2014 - 6:57 am

    So sad He was a wonderful person and dentist. He was always happy and great, making going to the dentist much more comfortable. Thoughts are with the staff and family at this time

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  • Liz PittsMay 05, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    I just received a letter from Dr. Hribar about his retirement and Dr. Chinn's death. I am shocked, of course, and saddened. Dr. Chinn has been my dentist since I moved to California in 1991. I concur on Dr. Chinn's humor and his humanity. He would make me laugh and I would make him laugh, and I was never sure of how far I could go with the humor, but he was a pretty laid back guy, so I don't think I ever offended him. He would call me "kiddo" sometimes and that would make me smile. I could tell he was a very enlightened man and a very gentle soul. I will miss him much. Condolences to his staff, his family, and his friends. God Bless and Keep Dr. Richard Chinn.

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  • Carolyn EllisonMay 05, 2014 - 7:35 pm

    I just received notice of Dr. Chin's passing. I willl miss my thoughtful and kind dentist. He always made me smile, and many times with my mouth wide open:-) He blessed me and my family on a couple of occasions by coming into the office for dental emergencies on his off days. Dr. Chin, a man of integrity that I will always have fond memories of. My deepest sympathy to his family, friends and patients.

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  • VIvian and FredMay 05, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    I was so sad and shocked about Dr Chinn's passing away so suddenly. I have been seeing him for more than 20 yrs and was so looking forward to see him last Saturday. He was such a good and honest dentist that I and my husband are going to miss him a lot. Our heart felt condolences to his family.

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  • Carole JensenMay 05, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    I am 42 years old and Dr. Chinn was my childhood dentist since age 3. I adored him so much even when I moved out of the area as an adult I would still go to him once a year. I have since moved to Southern Ca and obviously had to find a new Dentist. Why did I stay with him all these years? He was funny kind fair and honest. He really cared about his patients. He always asked about family members and would give me an update on his life. He was a gentle kind soul and I am extremely sad to hear the news today. Dr. Chinn will be missed dearly. He was family to all of us.

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  • MelodyMay 05, 2014 - 11:57 pm

    I was both shocked and very saddened learning of Dr. Chinn's passing today. He was always so upbeat and cheery. Always with a joke, odd topic, or a question when there was no way you could answer. He helped me as well when I lost my dental insurance - a much appreciated gesture. While I find it odd to say I will miss my dentist, it says a lot about Dr. Chinn - he was a dentist and a friend. My deepest and sincerest sympathies to his family, staff, and practice partners.

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  • Martha HoranMay 07, 2014 - 3:47 pm

    We were so lucky to find Dr. Chinn in 1986 - I haven't been to another dentist since and drive the 300 miles to his office instead of trying to find a new one after we moved. He was the nicest man, honest and sincere, with a true gift for giving comfort at a painful time. We will miss him and all out best wishes go out to his staff and family.

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  • christinaMay 29, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    Wow i just found out. I always had him as a dentist i even cried when i was told of his passing he would always call me kiddo or sunshine. I have so many fun memories in his office. I always loved going to his office just to hear his stories and see his antics. He taught me how to keep good oral hygene. Rip dr chinn

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  • NANKI JOHALMay 30, 2014 - 11:36 pm

    I also would like to say to say that Dr. Chin was my dentist for for 27 years. When i received the letter from his office it bought tears to eyes. I was deeply saddened and could not believe it. Dr. Chin was a lovely person he took care of me and both by sons. He always had a smile on his and asked about the boys as they went through high school and college years- he was genuinely interested. He always made us laugh, making going to dentist not the "dreaded" experience that it is usually associated with. "you will be missed Dr.Chin- rest in peace" My heart felt condolences to his family friends office staff and especially Wendy his nurse who has been there as long as i have be going there.God bless. Nanki Johal.

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  • Bev WylieOctober 06, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    All of Dr. Richard Chinn's family deeply appreciate the sweet letters of condolence written on this site. THANK YOU. We really can't thank all you kind and caring people enough. May God bless each one of you and your families for the comfort and encouragement you've given us. Sincerely, Bev (one of Dr. Chinn's siblings, his older sister)

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  • Luis SaenzOctober 08, 2014 - 7:43 am

    Bev, yesterday, out of the blue, I decided to telephone someone I hadn't spoken to in years (that's an understatement). So I asked myself, "Who would you really like to talk to after all these years?" Well, I decided I would try to track down Richard Chinn. Why Richard? Well, back during the 1969-70 academic year at UCLA, Richard was a first year dental student and I was a first year law student and he and I lived in the graduate student dormitory on campus. Richard and his also first year dental student roommate occupied the room immediately next to mine. During that year Richard and I became good friends. What I remember about our relationship was that he and I spent considerable time kidding and ribbing each other about-- whatever. The others around us thought he and I were a couple of crackpots because while the other graduate students (medical, dental, law Ph. D.s in training) were flipping and stressing out, Richard and I continued to just laugh our way through with stupid jokes and comments. (Hey, it kept us sane, more-or-less). After our first year, we went on to different living arrangements, and would never see or speak with each other again. But, I never forgot the young man who helped me cope with the stresses of law school. I'd like to think I also helped him cope with the stresses of dental school. When I read about his tragic accident, I was so affected that I left my law office and went home to contemplate the whys of life. This morning I awoke and decided to read the comments Richard's patient's wrote about him. I was so pleased to discover that he hadn't changed his crazy, quirky sense of humor. I was also not surprised to learn how he was loved and respected by his patients. Richard was such an unforgettable person that I can close my eyes and still see he and I in the dorm dining room mixing it up with the other students and just basically having a good ol' time. He was truly a one-of-a-kind person in the most positive way possible.

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