Lontime Tahoe resident dies in accident
Longtime South Lake Tahoe resident Steven R. Winters, 51, was killed early Thursday in a car accident about 16 miles south of Reno.
Winters, a life master bridge player, had recently left a friend’s residence in Reno after an evening of bridge.
The Nevada Highway Patrol said Winters apparently lost control of his 1994 Audi just south of the Bowers Mansion cutoff after drifting into the center median. The car rolled several times, ejecting the driver, who was not wearing a seat belt. No passengers were in the vehicle.
NHP Trooper Rick Mclellan, who investigated the accident, believes that the vehicle went into the center median and began to rotate. Winters then overcorrected and the vehicle rolled several times, according to an NHP report.
The driver came to rest in front of the car, which stopped facing north on the east shoulder of the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Washoe County Coroner’s Office listed multiple injuries as the probable cause of death.
Officials cause for the accident has yet to be determined. Nevada troopers who responded to the scene reported detecting the odor of alcohol. However, results from a toxicological analysis that should determine the driver’s blood alcohol level will not be available for several days.
Minutes before the accident, the NHP said another motorist called the highway patrol via cellular telephone to report that the car was swerving and traveling in excess of 80 mph.
This motorist said the car went out of view just as it hit the center median. The motorist came upon the accident as she rounded a bend in the highway.
The NHP said the driver’s side of the vehicle remained completely intact. They speculated that the momentum of the rollover threw Winters through the passenger side window. Investigators suspect the driver may have survived the accident had he been wearing a seat belt.
Winters moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1970, along with his wife, Jane, and children Debbie Llewellyn, Barry and Dan. As a broker, he was an active member of the real estate community.
Family and friends said he was most proud of his Remodeler of the Year award in the early 1990s for the Winters Building, located on Harrison Avenue in South Lake Tahoe and his work remodeling the historic Minden Inn in Minden, Nevada.
The Minden Inn is currently used as office space by Douglas County government employees.
Winters was also a member and former president of the Kiwanis Club of South Lake Tahoe. Current president Ray Ortner spoke of his deceased friend and former leader.
“One thing I’d really like to make a mention of was how really devoted and concerned about the community Steve was,” Ortner said. “There are too many accomplishments to list in that regard, but he was always trying to make the community better and always doing things for others.
“He was always smiling and willing to help.”
Winters was an avid outdoor sports fanatic who loved softball, boating, skiing, rafting and hang gliding. He was also an avid pilot. In September 1996, he opened his restaurant, Encore!, on Harrison Avenue in South Lake Tahoe.
Members of his family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Kiwanis, which will use the funds to benefit children in the community in Winters’ name.
The family said a sharing of memories for family and friends will be held at Valhalla Hall at 1 p.m. on Monday.
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