Driver who killed Sonoma family had previous DUI

November 30, 2009 6:31:55 PM PST
ABC7 has learned that the young driver of a speeding car involved in an accident that killed four members of a Sonoma family had a previous DUI conviction. The crash killed John and Susan Maloney and their two young daughters.

John Maloney was vice president of SolarCraft. The president of the company told ABC7 John was a wonderful, gifted, multi-talented person with a great vision.

Steven Culbertson, 19, was the driver of the car involved in the fatal accident. The CHP tells ABC7 that in June 2007, he was convicted of a DUI collision in Lake County. Culbertson got his license back last year after it was suspended.

"I just have this big hole in my heart. It's going to be there for a while. [They were] sweet, sweet people," said friend and neighbor Chris Rowland.

Neighbors left their condolences at the entrance of the Maloney family home in Sonoma. Rowland says John, his wife Susan and their two children, 8-year-old Aiden and 5-year-old Grace, loved to travel.

"Disneyland just lost their best customers because they were frequent visitors of the Magic Kingdom and that was what they loved to do," said Rowland.

In fact, the Maloneys were heading home from the airport after a Thanksgiving vacation in Hawaii when they were killed shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The CHP says Culbertson drove through a red light at the intersection of Lakeville Road and Highway 37. Witnesses say he could have been driving as fast as 90 miles an hour. The 19-year-old's Mini Cooper clipped a Honda CRV and flew through the intersection, broadsiding the Maloney's minivan. All four members of the family died at the scene. Culbertson died later at a hospital.

"[John] wanted to be involved in renewable energy as the right thing to do," said Bill Stewart, president of SolarCraft.

SolarCraft is a company that John Maloney joined in February after selling his interest in an electronics company he helped found.

Maloney stayed home for a couple of years to raise his children before returning to work.

"He went and got a master's degree in creative writing from Dominican University and also wrote a children's book during that time," said Stewart.

Maloney is survived by his 19-year-old daughter from another marriage. ABC7 was told she is a college student that did not go with the family to Hawaii.

The CHP is continuing their investigation and awaiting lab results to see if Culbertson had been drinking before the accident.


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