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Man survives 200-foot crash after driving SUV off Sonoma Coast cliff

in People

A 59-year-old man survived after driving his SUV off a 200-foot cliff on the Sonoma Coast on Sunday north of Jenner.

The driver, who is not from Sonoma County, sustained moderate injuries after careening off Highway 1 and down onto Driftwood Beach, about a half mile north of River’s End restaurant.

The man’s blue Ford Edge came to rest upside down in a crumpled heap about 12:50 p.m., and first responders were surprised to find the man had pulled himself from the wreckage. The crash did not appear to be an accident, they said.

“When we got there, he was walking along the beach,” Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said, adding that the man was wobbly and combative with first responders.

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Survivor: One Santa Rosa area bartender’s fight to keep his saloon, and himself, alive

in Business/News
Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat
Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat

John Timberlake is not married, at the moment, though he has been in the past – four times, to be precise. And he’s not ruling out future nuptials.

“I’m not a quitter,” said Timberlake, 59. “I’m a hopeless romantic.”

If there was any quit in him, Timberlake’s bar would’ve gone belly-up several times since he bought it in 2016. But after a tense two months during the COVID-19 pandemic, when its survival hung in the balance, the Final Edition Bar & Grill in Larkfield is out of critical condition and on its way to a full recovery.

One of the best-known bartenders in Sonoma County since the mid-1980s, Timberlake always wanted a saloon of his own. He fulfilled that ambition four years ago, when he and two partners bought the Final Edition, a beloved, blue-collar neighborhood bar just off Old Redwood Highway in Larkfield.

Timberlake knew it wouldn’t be easy. He’s worked in the county’s bars and restaurants since 1984. But he wasn’t prepared for the Old Testament-caliber tribulations awaiting him, including a heart attack, two wildfires, power outages and “the virus apocalypse.”

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