Nike HQ couple killed in freak accident during Napa Valley cycling trip

A couple of Nike headquarters workers were killed while bicycling in a freak accident after they were stuck by lumber from a flatbed truck when the load shifted as it was passing them.

The couple, 52-year-old Christian Deaton and his 48-year-old spouse Michelle Deaton of Portland, OR were enjoying a morning bike ride along the Silverado Trail near Napa Valley, CA while vacationing when tragedy struck.

At around 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Mr. and Mrs. Deaton were traveling north on on Silverado Trail north of Oak Knoll Avenue when the load being carried by the truck, a three-axle 2018 Freightliner shifted, striking them, according to the California Highway Patrol, said  CHP Officer Vince Pompliano.

(Video: YouTube/ABC7 News Bay Area)

Christian Deaton died at the scene of the accident, Michelle Deaton was transported to a local hospital she succumbed to her injuries. The truck’s driver, identified as a 55-year-old Vallejo man stayed at the scene and assisted officers.

The couple, who both worked for the athletic shoe and apparel colossus were married for 21 years and were avid bicyclists, according to friends who were left shocked and grieving by their unexpected deaths.

“We have an enormous void to fill in our hearts right now. The impressions they left on us are everlasting,” said Josh Ring, a longtime friend who is quoted by KTVU, he described the Deatons as “very skilled athletes.”

Ring said that the couple also enjoyed going to concerts by groups that were popular in the 1980s and 1990s including Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Tears for Fears, according to KTVU.

“Cycling is their major love. Traveling a second love,” Ring said. “I’m speechless right now. There are not many words that can derive a situation we’re in. We’re left wondering why.”

“Christian and Michelle were the most inspirational couple we knew. Humble, generous, thoughtful, loving and hardworking, together they were redefining what it meant to thrive in every aspect of life. I knew Christian for over 25 years, and they were our best friends,” another of the couple’s friends, Nate Retzlaff told KTVU.

They loved our kids like they were their own and blessed our family and friends immensely. I’ve never laughed harder with anyone else as they were so fun and lived life to the fullest. So many are heartbroken today as people like the Deatons come around once in a lifetime,” Retzlaff added.

(Video: YouTube/KTVU)

“Christian was the VP of Product and Merchandising at NIKE Swim, and Michelle was an EQ Design Studio Director. She worked for the company for 23 years,” the Daily Mail reported. “They lived together in a $1million penthouse apartment in Portland.”

“We are devastated by this news, and our deepest sympathies are with the victims’ families and loved ones. Central Valley is continuing to gather the facts to determine exactly what happened, including working closely with local law enforcement as they investigate this incident,” Central Valley Builders, the truck’s owner, said in a statement, according to KTVU.

Chris Donaldson


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