Somewhat of a local celebrity for his decades in the area’s demolition derby circuit before being killed Sunday, his recognizable “U2” car also often had another message.
“Jesus saves,” said his mother, Donna Burkey, who added her late son regularly attended the Christian Heights Church in Sonora.
“That’s what’s holding the family together right now,” she said.
Roberts’ life ended violently on Sunday morning in his auto shop on Mono Way. According to the Sonora Police Department, he was shot shortly before he was found by an acquaintance who called 911. He was 49 years old.
The death is being investigated by law enforcement as a homicide, with the Sonora Police Department and the state Department of Justice both involved.
Roberts will be remembered by those who knew him for his contributions to the community and his family, as a showman in his demolition derby cars, a leader in his volunteer police cruiser, a husband, father and a man of God.
“I don’t think he has any regrets,” his brother, Mike Roberts, said Monday. “He just wasn’t a bad person at all. … He’s going to be missed. He didn’t deserve that.”
Roberts was known by many for his three decades of exploits in the destruction derby arena, where he drove a car named for the popular rock band.
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Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties