The 49-year-old Galt man killed in an auto collision near San Andreas last weekend was a well-liked vendor at the Sonora Certified Farmers Market known by many as “Ed, the flower guy.”
Eleazar “Ed” Rodriguez, who sold flowers at the Sonora market, was pronounced dead at the scene of a vehicle crash on Highway 49 just south of Carol Kennedy Road around 12:55 p.m. after leaving the Sonora market on Sept. 29.
A 10-year-old female passenger in his 1998 Chevy box truck was seriously injured and is recovering at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was most recently listed in critical condition.
Authorities have not identified the passenger because of her age, however according to market manager Erin O’Hare, the girl was Rodriguez’s daughter.
“Ed almost always brought one of his children to the market with him to help him work,” O’Hare wrote in a recent Facebook posting. “This last week he had his 10-year-old daughter with him.”
She wrote that he was “deeply devoted to his family” and always had a photo of them at his vendor booth for all at the market to see.
Rodriguez had just turned 49 on Sept. 11, according to O’Hare.
“It is rare to come across a person who only ever had positive things to say, but Ed was one of those people,” O’Hare wrote.
O’Hare said in an interview this morning that a formal fund for Rodriguez’s family has yet to be established, but she will be collecting donations at the market this Saturday and taking those donations to his family. She said there will be a picture of him in the space where his vendor booth once stood.
“He really touched people’s lives with his kindness,” O’Hare said. “In my four years supervising the market, I never heard him say anything unkind at all.”
Sheala Wilkinson, the city’s special programs manager, said Rodriguez had been a vendor at the market for the past seven years.
Another Facebook posting by Christine’s Sausage, also a vendor at the market, stated: “His infectious smile and wonderful way of complimenting every woman who bought flowers from him will never be forgotten.”
Dale Kuil, owner of Four K Farm, met Rodriguez at other Central Valley farmers’ markets and convinced him to start selling his flowers at the one in downtown Sonora.
Rodriguez had a wife, two sons and two daughters, who were all sustained solely by the flower business, Kuil said.
Also killed in Saturday’s collision was Penny Miles, 52, of Murphys, who crossed the double yellow lines going south on Highway 49 and collided head-on with Rodriguez’s truck.
The California Highway Patrol believes Miles may have been intoxicated on drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash based on physical evidence found at the scene, but that could not be confirmed until an autopsy is completed.