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Former Napa child dies in Gold Country auto crash

9-year-old, family on their way to the Napa Town & Country Fair

by MARSHA DORGAN
Register Staff Writer
August 12, 2003—Teale Marie Sisson loved animals, especially horses, and wanted someday to be a veterinarian. But the one-time Napa 9-year-old's dreams and aspirations were crushed on Friday afternoon at the hands of an alleged drunk driver.
 
Sisson, who moved from Napa with her mother, Angela Creach, and family earlier this year, died in a violent crash in the rural area of Ione Road and Highway 16 in Amador County, near the Gold Country foothills. Sisson was in a car headed for the Napa Town & Country Fair.
 
Shayne Willard, 28, of Orangevale, was driving a 1998 Ford Taurus that slammed into the Honda in which Teale was riding. Willard was arrested for felony drunk driving and causing a hit-and-run accident. California Highway Patrol investigators may request that the Amador County District Attorney's Office file a second-degree murder charge against Willard, CHP officer Johnson Wong said.
 
Just moments before the crash, CHP officers had attempted to pull Willard's 1998 Ford Taurus over for speeding, Wong said.
 
Willard didn't stop and the ensuing chase hit speeds up to 100 mph and more, he said.
 
"The officers lost sight of Willard's car about a mile from the crash and called off the chase," Wong said. "Then, just moments later, the CHP units came upon the fatal accident."
 
Teale was riding in a Honda driven by Adam Daniel Creach, 18, of Sutter Creek. In addition to the youngster, two 16-year-old females were also riding in the Honda, which was westbound on Ione Road.
 
Willard, who was eastbound on Ione Road, took a curve about 90 mph, lost control and broadsided the left rear portion of the Honda, where Teale was sitting, Wong said. The child suffered major trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene, he said. "It was such a violent crash, it tore the cars apart."
 
Willard and his passengers, Lisa Marie Babcock, 26, of Orangevale and Hannah Tindle, 24, of Pine Grove, ran from the crash site, but were picked up a very short time later by CHP officers, Wong said.
 
 
"The CHP had a helicopter in the air, and the patrol cars were at the crash within minutes because they had been chasing Mr. Willard's car."
 
Everybody involved in the accident except Teale suffered minor injuries and went to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento for treatment.
 
Teale, a Napa native, attended St. George Elementary School until her mother and family moved to Jackson around April.
 
Her father, Bill Sisson, a heavy equipment operator, and other family members live in Napa. The child divided her time between her mother's and father's residences.
 
Angela Creach, Teale's mother, said her daughter was excited about starting her new school in Jackson in September.
 
"She would have been in fourth grade. She loved horses and was really looking forward to getting involved in 4-H and showing my horse," Creach said.
 
Although Teale preferred sports, the outdoors and animals to girlie stuff, "she really admired and looked up to her 16-year-old cousin Jackie," Creach said.

"When she was around Jackie, she loved to copy her. She was really proud her hair looked like Jackie's," she said. "As a matter of fact, the day of the accident, they had driven about 45 minutes, and she was mimicking everything Jackie did."
 
Creach remembers her daughter as a "bright, wonderful girl, who touched the lives of everyone she met. She really loved the lord."
 
Teale's aunt, Teri Sisson of Napa, also has fond memories of her niece.
 
"She was just the sweetest little girl you would ever want to meet. She was coming to Napa to spend part of her vacation with her dad. That night (of her death) she was on her way to Napa to go to the fair. She must have called her dad four or five times that day," Sisson said. "We still have her fair ticket. For us, she will always be on her way to the fair."
 
Sisson said Teale's parents were concerned about the child traveling so much between Jackson and Napa.
 
"Then look what happened. It's a parents' worst nightmare come true," she said.
 
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, at Claffey & Rota, 1975 Main St., Napa. Burial will follow at Tulocay Cemetery.
 
A celebration of Teale's life will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, at Napa Valley Baptist Church, 2303 Trower Ave., Napa.
 
Marsha Dorgan can be reached at 256-2214 or mdorgan@napanews.com

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