Napa family killed while returning home from father-son basketball tournament

The only survivor of a quadruple fatal crash Saturday night is at home in Napa, mourning the loss of four family members who were in the car with him on their way back from a father-son basketball tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

"I saw him yesterday, he's pretty shook up," family friend Cam Neal said of 19-year-old Jared Horn, who was driving the car when it was hit by an alleged drunk driver.

"It's nothing short of a miracle that he's alive," said Neal, "because there's no way, five people in the car, and he walks away." 

The five-car pileup occurred on Interstate 80 near San Pablo, when a Mercedes sedan traveling the same direction as the Horn's Toyota, hit and flipped them over the center median and into the path of oncoming traffic. 

Horn's 50-year-old father, Daryl Horn, and his 14-year-old brother, Joseph, died at the scene.  His uncle and cousin died too. They are 52-year-old Troy Biddle and his 12-year-old son, Baden Biddle.  Troy Biddle was the brother to Jared Horn's mother, who was not in the car at the time.

The Biddles were from Bainbridge Island, Washington. 

In a statement the families said the five were returning from an annual father-son basketball tournament.

"The spent their last day doing what they loved," it reads in part, "It was an amazing day filled with pride and laughter." 

At Redwood Middle School, where Joe Horn was a student, grief counselors were on hand for students returning from Thanksgiving break.

"This is a beloved family to us, and our hearts are just broken," said school district spokeswoman Elizabeth Emmett, who noted that Daryl Horn's widow, Denise, is an employee at Napa Valley Unified's headquarters. 

"We'll let the family guide us, let us know what they need, let the community know what they need, and we'll be right there with everyone else, trying to support them," said Emmett.

Jared Horn graduated from his father's alma mater, Vintage High, in 2016, and is now a sophomore pitcher for the UC Berkeley baseball team. 

Friends say younger brother Joe was following the same athletic path. 

"Joe was right with him, he was a tremendous pitcher himself and played basketball," noted Neal, who grew close with the Horn family through baseball and Vintage High, where he is athletic director. 

"But Joe was his own person, a special kid, full of personality, full of life, and best friend to many," said Neal sadly. 

In their statement, the families noted both fathers were dedicated to youth sports and mentoring children. 

"Daryl was the best," said Neal, "always the life of the party type of guy, hilarious, and so fun to be around."

The alleged DUI driver, 47-year-old Fred Lowe, of Sacramento, fled the accident, but was arrested later when he crashed again. As of Tuesday, he had not been charged, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.

"It's heartbreaking to us, because we're trying so hard for this to stop," said CHP Officer Mark Renspurger of the Napa office, who was a longtime personal friend and neighbor of the Horn family.
"Drunk driving happens so often, it's become commonplace, and there's a numbness to it, which is disturbing."

Renspurger pointed out there are more ride share options, more awareness, and more enforcement than ever.

"Yet there's still that percentage of people who really don't care. Selfish - to be honest- selfish and lazy," he said grimly.

Renspurger's son grew up friends with Jared Horn from kindergarten on, and Renspurger has visited the grieving family.

"For them it's unfathomable, heartbreaking," said Renspurger," and you won't find anybody in this valley who can say a negative word about that family." 

Photos shared by the family show the boys beaming alongside their dads, and posing next to each other, as close as cousins can be. 

The family statement describes them as "beautiful, caring, and innocent boys whose loss will be felt by all who knew them. 

The surviving families consist of Amanda Horn (Biddle) and daughter Devon, 10, and Denise Horn, daughter Greta, and son Jared, the lone crash survivor. 

"He's a great carrier of the torch for that family," said Cam Neal, "and these are unfortunate circumstances but he's a very strong young man and he's going to be okay." 

The Horn/ Biddle statement concludes: "The families have a deep love for each other and will use their strength to manage this difficult time."