SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento restaurateur and former president of the California Restaurant Association's Sacramento chapter has died after he crashed into a subcontractor's truck in an active construction zone along Highway 50 in Sacramento early Wednesday morning.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office identified the deceased as Christopher Edward Jarosz, 55, of Courtland.
Jarosz was the owner of multiple Sacramento restaurants including Anonimo Pizza and Broderick Roadhouse.
"We are sadden (sic) to say that our leader Chris Jarosz had a terrible accident this morning and passed away. Our condolences to his family and closed (sic) friends. God bless Chris, rest in peace. You will be missed," Anonimo Pizza said in a statement posted to Facebook.
Broderick said it would not comment on Jarosz's death at this time.
He was also a former president of the California Restaurant Association's Sacramento chapter. Jot Condie, the current president and CEO of the CRA said in a statement posted to Facebook:
"We were deeply saddened today to learn of Chris' passing. Chris was an exceptionally warm and friendly person, it was truly in his nature to be an easygoing, approachable, and likable guy. He was also deeply dedicated to the Sacramento restaurant community and its workforce. He will be missed, and our thoughts are with his family and friends."
California Highway Patrol says, just after 2 a.m., officers responded to the westbound side of the freeway near 51st Street to investigate a crash. At the scene, officers found that an SUV had crashed into a one-ton flatbed truck.
The truck was hitched to an arrow board trailer that was activated, pointing drivers to the right. Two employees were inside the truck, CHP says.
Officers found that the SUV crashed into the arrow board trailer, then into the truck. Jarosz wasn't wearing a seatbelt, CHP says, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both people who were in the construction truck weren't hurt, officers say.
"In the restaurant business, you face challenges every day, but he had that ability to make that challenge an opportunity," said Patrick Mulvaney, owner of Mulvaney's B&L in midtown.
It wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that Mulvaney heard the news of Jarosz's death.
"A, it's such a shock, and B, it's so fresh that we don't even know," he told CBS13.
Mulvaney said his friendship with Jarosz spanned more than 15 years. Since then, he said Jarosz played a key role in elevating Sacramento's restaurant industry to what it is now.
"We as a community, the hospitality community, have changed that, and Chris was a big part of that and we will miss him," Mulvaney said.
For Mulvaney, he hopes Sacramento remembers Jarosz by his entrepreneurial spirit.
"He saw opportunities and took the bold step to make them happen, and in doing that, I would argue he made Sacramento a better place," he said.
The Highway 50 incident was one of three deadly crashes around the greater Sacramento area Wednesday morning.
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