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Lincoln man identified in fatal accident on Nicolaus Road

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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Zach Miller, 26, is remembered by friends and family as a caring, thoughtful man of few words with a great sense of humor. “He loved animals. He loved riding his motorcycle and he loved the San Jose Sharks,” said his stepmother, Lori Miller. The Lincoln resident died at approximately 12:30 Friday morning when his pickup truck crashed and caught fire near the intersection of Nicolaus Road and Lakeside Drive. Lincoln Police, first on the scene, were unable to extricate Miller. “Based upon the description of what they found when they arrived, there was little they could do,” said Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt, “but they made a valiant effort at attempting to save his life.” Firefighters arrived shortly after and extinguished the blaze. “It was foggy at the time of the accident,” Whitt said Friday morning. “We don’t know what the cause of the accident is at this time.” Miller was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. Lincoln Police Lt. Paul Shelgren said Wednesday that the cause of the accident could not be determined until the result of the toxicology report is released next week. While attending the College of San Mateo when he was 18, Miller started working for the Bay View Bank, Lori Miller said. After being promoted several times, he moved to the Sacramento area and worked in real estate, according to his stepmother. In 2004, Miller purchased his first house and had bought his third by the next year. “He had been putting himself through school all these years at night,” Lori Miller said. “He had a gorgeous smile that would light up a room.” About 2 1/2 years ago, Zach reconnected with Abe Rivera, one of his high school classmates. “Zach was an all-around great guy,” Rivera wrote in an e-mail. “He felt almost like a brother to me. He got me back into the gym, and we would work out every morning.” In addition to remembering good times playing softball together, Rivera said he could recall Miller’s habit of covering his mouth with his hand when something was really funny, and how he would try to tell a joke but almost laugh before he could finish it. This past year, Rivera wrote, Zach joined him and his wife on trips to a pumpkin patch and up to Apple Hill to cut Christmas trees. Miller’s good-natured, easygoing character made him many friends around the world, said Christine “Hepper” Allen, who lives in New Zealand. Allen met Miller in 2005 and said he was clever, well spoken, polite and funny. “He enjoyed team sports, going to the gym, spending time with his dog, taking long rides on his motorbike, playing computer games and hanging out with his friends,” Allen reminisced. The computer game her friend loved playing, Allen said, was “World of Warcraft,” a role-playing game that allowed him to interact with 10,000 individuals from all over the world. Allen and Miller spent hours wandering through the fantasy world “tracking down goblins and dragons, and chatting on external voice programs.” “He was an amazing gentleman and an amazing person to spend time with,” Allen said, adding that she last saw Miller when she spent eight days with him on vacation in the United States. “The time and adventures we shared I will treasure and remember fondly forever.” Miller is survived by his parents, Melody and Jeffrey Miller; stepmother Lori Miller; brother Gabriel Adam Miller and half brother, Jacob Miller. Services will be held at Skylawn Memorial Park, 10600 Skyline Blvd. in San Mateo at 12 p.m. Friday. “Zach will be truly missed and in my heart forever,” Miller said. “I wish I could have told him how much I loved him and what a great impact he made in my life.” Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at brandond@goldcountrymedia.com