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The day she lost her love

Carolyn Jones-Rogers recalls when a distracted driver killed her husband


Carolyn Jones-Rogers suffered the untimely loss of her husband, Jim Rogers, in January of 2010 due to distracted driving. As a tribute to Jim and to raise awareness of the dangers and tragedies that can occur from distracted driving, she and others in our community have coordinated a memorial ride in Jim’s honor. Sunday, Feb. 11, marks the 9th Annual Jim Rogers Memorial Ride. Here is Carolyn’s story. 

My husband, Jim Rogers, was killed on Highway 174 on Jan. 31, 2010. This is what happened the day he died.

My mother had passed away the month before, so I was driving down to her house in Sacramento to start preparing it for sale. On the way, I dropped my son off at his friend’s house. Jim would always ride his bicycle down to my mom’s when I drove, so he could get a ride in. He said he would take his time riding down that particular day because it was the first fair weather day in a while. 

Around 4 p.m., I started wondering why he wasn’t at my mom’s house yet. At 5 o’clock, I called the CHP non-emergency number. At 5:15 they called back. The sergeant wouldn’t tell me the news but asked for a relative. He told my brother. I slipped to the floor and went into shock. One of the worst parts came next — I had to tell my son and Jim’s parents that Jim was dead.

The CHP report states that the driver of the vehicle was on her cell phone at the time that Jim was hit. As soon as she hit him, she got out of her vehicle and kept saying, “I didn’t see him! Is he going to be OK?” She was a woman over age 50 with a clean driving record. 

I do not feel anger toward the woman who hit him. I’m sure she was unaware of the dangers of driving distracted. I suppose many folks don’t understand how our brains can literally tune out when we are overwhelmed with information. People don’t realize this. Because she was unaware of this danger, her life and those of her family, our lives and our family and friends’ lives were dramatically changed forever.


Please learn from this and never use your phone while you’re driving. 

Karen Wallack-Eisen, Duane and Connie Strauser, and I (with the help of our friends and families) have been coordinating a memorial ride in Jim’s honor since the year he was killed. We hope the ride helps to remind people to always drive distraction free. The ride is usually held the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day to symbolize what a loving man Jim was. 

Please join us to honor Jim Rogers and enjoy a lovely community bicycle ride, rain or shine. 

About the photo: 

Jim Rogers shares a moment with the nephew of his wife, Carolyn.

9th annual memorial ride set for Feb. 11

The 9th annual Jim Rodgers Memorial Ride starts at the Tour Nevada City Bicycle Shop, 457 Sacramento St., Nevada City. Those who want to participate should be there by 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. A Bicycle Benefit Lunch fundraiser that supports youth bicycling groups in Nevada County will be held around 12:30 p.m. after the ride. Another location will be determined if it rains. SPD is donating the food; a $5 donation is suggested to benefit youth cycling. For more information, contact Karen Wallack-Eisen at 530-588-4844 or 530-265-3809 or knew@sbcglobal.net