Topaz woman identified in Friday fatal |

Topaz woman identified in Friday fatal

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

The name of a Gardnerville woman who allegedly walked into the path of a semi-truck on Friday, was released Monday.

Nadine Kimberly Thornburg, 40, a South Lake Tahoe savings and loan employee, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5:30 p.m. accident on Highway 395 at Pine Valley Road near Topaz.

According to witnesses Thornburg was seen standing briefly on the side of the road before running onto the highway.

Bobbie Dickerson, a grandmother from Topaz, said she is haunted not only by what she saw, but by the grief of the truck driver and his passenger.

Dickerson was two cars behind the southbound tractor trailer with North Carolinians Richard Zeff, 38, at the wheel and Russell Lowe III, 22, riding shotgun.

When Dickerson saw her, Thornburg was on Pine Valley Road walking toward the highway and instinctively, she said, she knew what Thornburg was going to do.

“She stopped for a split second to look back at the cars, and then that’s when she turned her head back up toward the semi. She made eye contact with the driver and she took off at a dead run to run right in front of the truck,” Dickerson said. “He swerved to miss her. If he would have swerved any more he would have had a head-on or jackknifed.”

When Dickerson pulled over the side of the road, she recalled crying out to God to give her strength as Lowe was walking toward to where Thornburg lie.

She said she told him not to go over there and she walked him back to Zeff.

“Richard – he was in shock, and the other one was hysterical. They both took it really hard and they are both still struggling with it,” she said.

“I feel for those truck drivers. I feel for them because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I feel bad that she didn’t have hope or faith to not do what she did, and I feel bad for her family.

“But (Zeff and Lowe) were victims, not her. She made a choice to do what she did, and these poor guys didn’t have a choice. When I think about it, I think about them because it seems like nobody cared about them. I’m ashamed that nobody cares about them.”

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.

Services for Thornburg

A memorial mass is 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Gall Catholic Church in Gardnerville for Nadine Kimberly Thornburg, 40, who was killed after she was hit by a truck at about 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Thornburg lived at South Lake Tahoe for 26 years before moving to Gardnerville. She was an escrow officer at a South Lake Tahoe savings and loan.

She is survived by her husband, Ron of South Lake Tahoe, son Brandon of Gardnerville, daughter Chloe of South Lake Tahoe, sister Lori Mendenhall of Sparks; brother Scott Haines of Gardnerville; parents Gardnerville residents Lawrence T. and Dolores “Dee” Haines; and her grandmother Isabel Zilius of Gardnerville.

Arrangements are in the care of Walton’s Douglas County Mortuary in Minden. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Bank of America Account No. 501003568242.