Family seeks answers in death of Weston Tanner, 21

By Peggy Spear on October 7, 2013

Tanner WestonFamily and friends of Weston Tanner are still shocked and saddened by the loss of the 2010 Clayton Valley High School graduate, even as curious details of his death are still emerging.

Tanner, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene after the car he was driving crashed into a tree on Marsh Creek Road near the Clayton Regency Mobile Home Park shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, after he led Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputies on a seven-mile chase from Brentwood. The Lexus sedan he was driving was reportedly stolen in Concord.

Two passengers in the car he was driving survived the crash but were critically injured. Tanner is the son of Clayton resident Kim Zocchi Herrera and the stepson of John Herrera, a longtime Oakland Raiders executive who retired in 2012.

According to the sheriff’s department, the incident began about 8 a.m. Friday Sept. 27 when a sheriff’s deputy responded to reports of a suspicious Lexus parked near a Contra Costa Water District office on Walnut Boulevard in Brentwood. Tanner, who lived in Clayton, fled when a sheriff’s dispatcher told the deputy that the car had been stolen in Concord, the sheriff’s office said. The chase raced up to speeds of 70 mph.

Despite the circumstances of his death, an outpouring of community support followed the news, as friends on social media extolled the liveliness and exuberance of Tanner, and friends of Kim Herrera reached out to her in person and on Facebook.

Herrera says her son was always fun-loving and kind, and whenever he texted his mom, he included “TTMB,” meaning “I love you to the moon and back.”

Aunt Cheryl Zocchi-Joyner says, however, than in recent years Tanner suffered from drug addiction, and was sometimes involved with “people who didn’t have his best interest at heart.”

Still, Herrera says that no matter what happened that Friday morning, she is certain her son did not steal the vehicle he was driving in the crash. “The car had been stolen for several days,” she said. “I know that he did not steal it.”

She said family and law enforcement officials are still trying to piece together all that happened leading up to the crash.

Born in Walnut Creek, Tanner was close with his family, especially his brothers Clayton and Nathan. He was “all-boy,” according to his mom, a kid who loved basketball, surfing and hanging out with friends. A celebration of his life was held on Oct. 5 at Tabernacle School in Concord. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dionne Cooper/ Solidarity, 1125 San Antonio Place, Santa Clara, CA 95051.

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