A tragic accident in Napa Valley claimed the lives of a Portland couple, both of whom held executive positions at Nike. Christian and Michelle Deaton were cycling down the Silverado Trail on the outskirts of Napa around 11 a.m. on Tuesday when they were struck by lumber that had slid off a passing flatbed truck.
The couple was navigating the trail when a 2018 Freightliner attempted to pass them at approximately 40 mph. During the maneuver, the lumber loaded on the truck shifted, causing some of it to hang over the edge of the vehicle. The protruding wood hit the Deatons, resulting in fatal injuries.
Christian Deaton, 52, succumbed to his injuries at the scene, while his wife Michelle, 48, was rushed to the hospital where she later died, as reported by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. The 55-year-old truck driver, a resident of Vallejo, remained at the scene during the investigation. The authorities have yet to disclose whether the driver will face any criminal charges.
The Deatons, who had been married for 21 years, were known for their adventurous spirit and love for physical activities. Friends remember them as a lighthearted couple who embraced life to the fullest. Cholee Thompson, a friend who met Michelle on a group vacation, described her as a strong woman with a penchant for giggling and a readiness for new experiences, be it a spontaneous hike, a bike trip, or kayaking.
Christian, on the other hand, was known for his love for music. He would often sing, dance, and play air guitar when he and his friends gathered to listen to vinyl records. Elizabeth LeMay, another friend and former colleague of Christian at Nike, described the couple as a once-in-a-lifetime pair who shared an immense love for each other.
Christian served as a vice president of product and merchandising at Nike Swim, while Michelle was an EQ design studio director. The couple resided in a million-dollar penthouse in Portland. They were in Napa as part of a two-week road trip that included a series of concerts and stops in California and Las Vegas.
The loss of the couple has left a gaping hole in the lives of their friends and loved ones. Thompson said, “They lived life so big that the hole that they left in all of us is just gaping.”