Truckee man dies in fatal one-car crash; Friends and family remember him as "gentle, loving soul"
February 12, 2003
Truckee resident Joseph E. Cotton, 37, died in a fatal one-car accident Feb. 6, while driving northbound on route 267. Cotton lost control of his pickup truck and overturned several times, just past Northstar Drive, before coming to rest in Martis Creek, on the east side of the roadway.
Truckee Fire Department transported Cotton to Truckee-Tahoe Airport where he was pronounced dead by Cal State Air Ambulance personnel at 6:44 p.m., according to a California Highway Patrol report. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
“I’m pretty shaken up,” said Cotton’s wife, Micky, in a telephone interview Wednesday at her in-laws’ home. “I’m still in shock. It’s hard to believe.”
“All I can say right now is he was loved by me tremendously.”
Father Bill Feeser, who baptized and gave Cotton his first communion when Cotton was a boy, held services Tuesday in Sacramento in front of more than 100 family members and friends.
“It was very heartfelt. [Father Feeser] was shocked when he found out, too. He knew Joey as a mischievous boy,” Micky said with a laugh.
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Cotton, born Oct. 21, 1965 in Sacramento, is remembered by friends as outgoing, caring and “the guy who always had a big smile.”
Tom Just, an owner of Mountain Home Center, where Cotton worked for the past year, said Cotton had “really blossomed as an employee.”
“He really took the initiative I needed him to the last three months,” Just said. “He was a critical part of our team.”
Cotton’s love for his wife, Micky, was “through and through very profound,” Just added.
“He was a gentle, loving soul,” he said.
“His mom just told me that all [Cotton] needed was a place to call home, people who cared for him and a career he believed in. And I think he found that here at the end.”
On the afternoon of Feb. 6, Cotton called Just, who was at home sick, to ask if he could leave work early to go meet some friends at Northstar.
“I asked him if all of his work was done, and he said ‘yes.’ That was the last time I talked to him,” Just said. “He clocked out at 12:45 p.m.”
Cotton spent the afternoon doing one of his favorite activities, skiing with friends, said Roberta Cluticky, who works with Cotton’s wife at Northstar.
“Micky had just gotten off work and was at an employee gathering. She had just talked to him (before he left),” Cluticky said.
The accident occurred while Cotton was on his way to his way from Northstar to his Sierra Meadows home. Micky heard the news of the crash while she was at the gathering, Cluticky said.
“A ski patroller found out it was Joe in the accident and called the people where I was and said, ‘Keep her there,'” Micky said. “They did a good job of holding me back.”
Cotton, also an avid traveler and golfer, met his wife while playing glow ball eight years ago. He was also working at Northstar at the time. The couple married on Sept. 18, 1999.
“Their dogs (Niner and Montana) are the loves of their life,” said Tracy Cole, who was the maid of honor in the Cottons’ wedding. “They were really important to him.”
Micky asked for donations to be made in honor of her husband to Placer County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, where she and her husband found Niner a few years ago as a puppy.
A reception will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at Blue Coyote Bar and Grill.