UPDATE: Driver Killed in Hwy. 101 Crash Identified as 43-Year-Old Pinole Man

Pickup truck went off the road and collided with parked tanker north of Atherton exit in Novato, according to the California Highway Patrol.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb.16, 2013.

The driver killed in an early morning crash on Highway 101 Saturday has been identified as 43-year-old Pinole resident Christopher Giovannoli, according to the Coroner's Division of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

Giovannoli was pronounced dead inside his pick-up truck at the scene at 6:53 a.m. Saturday, according to Sheriff's Lt. Keith Boyd. 

UPDATE: 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb.16, 2013.

California Highway Patrol officers are in the process of locating next of kin of the  43-year-old man killed in a crash with a big rig parked on the side of U.S. Highway 101 in Novato this morning.

CHP Officer Andrew Barclay said the man's name would be released as soon as the next of kin are notified.

The man was driving his Dodge Ram pickup truck north on Highway 101 near the Atherton Avenue on-ramp in Novato when for unknown reasons, he went off the roadway and slammed into the back of a parked tank trailer.

Emergency responders attended to the pickup truck driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the big rig had pulled over onto the side of the roadway and was sleeping in the rig's sleeper berth when the crash occurred and was uninjured.

CHP investigators do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. Since the crash occurred on a wide shoulder off of the roadway, there was only a minimal effect on traffic.

--Bay City News Service and Patch editor Keri Brenner contributed to this report.

ORIGINAL STORY, 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013.

A man died Saturday morning when his pickup truck slammed into the back of a tanker rig parked on the right shoulder of Highway 101 just north of Novato, sources said. 

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, said Novato Fire District Battalion Chief Gerald McCarthy. The tanker driver, who had been asleep in the cab, was uninjured.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, California Highway Patrol officer Andrew Barclay said.

The crash site was in the northbound lanes about halfway between the Atherton Avenue exit and the Redwood Landfill on a stretch commonly known as the Narrows. It is a section of the highway that makes a gentle bend to the left for northbound vehicles, and where there is an extra-wide paved shoulder plus additional gravel.

Barclay said a 2012 Dodge pickup truck collided with the back of the parked tanker at about 6:40 a.m. The tanker was parked 18 feet to the right of the slow lane.

"This (pickup) traveled well off the roadway and collided with the tanker, so it was not as if the rig was right next to traffic," Barclay said. "... We did not have to clear any lanes (of debris) because it was so far off the roadway."

Marin County coroner's office personnel arrived at the site at about 7:40 a.m., McCarthy said.

McCarthy said a Novato Fire medical crew arrived within 4 minutes of the first report of the crash. "They did their best to render care but the individual had expired upon their arrival," he said.

An airbag on the pickup had deployed, he said. Firefighters removed the pickup's driver-side door to give investigators better access to the interior, he added.

The unpressurized tanker had offloaded several thousands of gallons of beer hours earlier, McCarthy said.

The dead man's identity will be revealed later after the family is notified, Barclay said. A Novato firefighter said he appeared to be in his 30s.

Traffic backed up and the right lane was briefly closed for emergency vehicle access, Barclay said.

The Novato Narrows is a section of 101 that gradually gets tightened from four lanes to two lanes. It is not uncommon for big rig drivers to pull over and stop at the extra-wide shoulder on the northbound side, McCarthy said.

Did you drive by and take photos? You can upload them directly to this story or email brent.ainsworth@patch.com.

— Bay City News Service contributed to this report. Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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Wendy S Augusto February 18, 2013 at 05:24 AM
I really think this is a tough stretch of road. I can appreciate the concern of unethical pictures but Brent addressed my daughters death with respect and consideration.
chris starkey February 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM
he did'nt drink and drive, he did'nt do drugs, he would'nt talk on the phone or text while driving. nobody knows what exactly happened, however he was a great friend, a proud father, as well as his son's little league coach, to whom he was VERY close. he was also most likely the happiest husband i've ever known to a beautiful wife. they were very much in love. he was from el sobrante/pinole, and always was an upbeat happy guy, he will be greatly missed...
M Bruno February 25, 2013 at 02:19 AM
He was a wonderful, caring, talented, funny, silly, charming man..who was often up early picking up car parts as he loved to build cars and bikes, or going to swap meets. I know his son was the driving force in his life. and he would have done and did do anything for his boy. The world will be very empty without Chris in it. RIP ...
chris starkey February 25, 2013 at 07:20 AM
AMEN, Chris was a great friend, and i'm proud to have known him for more than 25 years, seldom would you find a more devout husband or a more proud and loving father, he and his wife were SO much in love, and he had such a close relationship with his son, it really breaks my heart to see this happen. Chris will be greatly missed, and he'll never be forgotten... love you bro... RIP.
m bruno February 25, 2013 at 11:52 PM
I am grateful to have been a close friend of Chris' and I will never ever forget how he constantly made me laugh...with silly faces. He had a nack for making people laugh. He always talked about some joke he was going to pull on someone.. or what tattoo he wanted to get next... He was a glowing bright spot in a sometimes dark world. I personally will miss him and his friendship forever. Good bye Stanley


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