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Pedestrian struck, killed crossing Highway 12 had lived in Oakmont

A 54-year-old Santa Rosa man was struck and killed while crossing Highway 12 Tuesday night in northeast Santa Rosa.

Jeffrey Barnes died shortly after the 10:30 p.m. crash near Mountain Hawk Drive, Sgt. Brad Conners said Wednesday.

Officers said they believe Barnes was crossing between intersections along a dark section of the road, which has a posted speed limit of 55 mph, when he was struck by a 2006 Lexus IS 250 driven by 89-year-old Buddy Darezzo of Santa Rosa.

Conners said there were not obvious signs that Darezzo or Barnes was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Barnes' family said he had battled drug addiction for most of his life and had recently been evicted from the Oakmont condo he shared with an elderly aunt until her death in December.

Barnes didn't appear to have a job, according to his neighbors, who said he would help them out with chores. They said he left two weeks ago. There was a recent foreclosure notice posted on the door of the condo.

Barnes' father, Arthur Barnes, said police told him his son may have been heading from or returning to a homeless shelter Tuesday night.

Arthur and Alvena Barnes adopted Jeffrey Barnes when he was a baby, raising him in Ventura before settling in Sebastopol, where they lived for 21 years. The parents retired to Bellingham, Wash., in 2001 and said they had almost no contact with their son, adding he had been addicted to drugs for most of his life and was in and out of prison.

“We were as estranged as you could be,” said Arthur Barnes, 87.

Arthur Barnes said he had not spoken to his son in more than a decade but that “once every three months or so, he would call my wife.

“He was a tortured soul. I tell you it was very hard on everybody,” he said. “He did not have a happy life at all.”

Neighbors in Oakmont remembered Barnes as a sweet, but troubled man.

“It's sad, sad, sad,” said Jane Lodge, who lived across from Barnes and his aunt. “Your heart just goes out to a person like that.”

Barnes' death is the second pedestrian fatality in Santa Rosa this year. In May, an elderly man standing outside his car on Occidental Road was struck and killed by a suspected drunken driver.

Police said an investigation indicated that Darezzo was not driving recklessly. Darezzo was not cited, though police are continuing to investigate.

An autopsy will be conducted Thursday.

In 2011 and 2012, 10 pedestrians were killed by cars in Santa Rosa and two others were seriously injured. Nine of the victims, all men, were intoxicated and found at fault. Seven were homeless.

Anyone with information about Tuesday night's collision is asked to contact Officer Tim Wilhelm at 543-3636.

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