The mother of a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer killed on his motorcycle in an apparent road rage crash shared fond memories of her son Tuesday, a man known for his smile and quick wit.
"He had a quick wit, fun personality and was so friendly that it was hard not to be his friend. He had a great laugh that you could hear as he enjoyed life," said Kathy Buob, fondly remembering her son, Zachary Buob, 39.
On May 28, at around 5:30 p.m., Imperial Beach resident Darla Jackson, 26, was driving her black Nissan Altima on northbound Interstate 5 near E Street in Chula Vista when officials said she got into some type of dispute on the roadway Buob, who was on his motorcycle.
After the two drivers transitioned from I-5 to eastbound State Route 54 and passed National City Boulevard, Jackson allegedly intentionally hit Buob’s motorcycle, running him over, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Buob was critically injured in the crash and died a short time later at a local hospital. Jackson was arrested and now faces one count of murder in what investigators are calling an act of road rage.
Buob’s mother, Kathy, is now left with the pain of her son’s untimely death, planning a funeral for him. She released this statement to NBC 7 Tuesday, titled “Memories of Zach Buob”:
Zach was a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. The military was his 2nd family. He spent 20 years in dedicated service to our country. He served as a Gunner’s Mate on the USS Antietam. Then he went to the Naval Special Warfare Command. He especially enjoyed the camaraderie working as a Chief Petty Officer with the Naval Special Warfare Command. We have heard from the service members who worked with him that he was well liked by all who served with him. He had his quirks but once you got use to Zach that was just Zach!!
His favorite things in life were his family, riding motorcycles, and dirt bikes with his Dad, childhood friend, cousins, and close riding buddies. He was an uncle to a two and a half year old niece. He was getting to know her when he would come home to San Jose for visits. He loved her very much. Zach reached out to his cousin who had recently moved to San Diego and offered his home to her. He helped her out when she needed it without question. He helps his friends, if they need it. He had a kind and caring soul. That will be truly missed by so many people. I was not aware of how many people’s lives our son had touched. He had many friends with children. He was always good with the children. I read that one little girl called him Uncle Zachy. That was so sweet to read. It touched my heart that this little girl cared about my son.
Our son, Zach will always be remembered for his smile, joking around with his family and friends and the love he showed to all of us. That will be missed most of all. We still find it extremely hard to believe this has happened to our family. We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the Naval Special Warfare Command for all their terrific support they have been giving us since Friday, May 29th. They are standing by us every day. The Chaplin has prayed with us, our neighbors Zach grew up with and just to be with us as we talk about our son. We are a Navy family! We appreciate all the support they have shown us.
Kathy said the family is trying to grieve and cope with the sudden loss and burial of her son.
In regards to Jackson, the alleged road rage driver, Kathy said the family simply had no comment.
Buob’s cousin spoke briefly with NBC 7 on Monday and said the Navy was planning a memorial for Buob in San Diego in the upcoming weeks. She said the family would hold a private ceremony for him as well.
The cousin described Buob as a “generous guy” who helped her in a time of great need. She also said he was a very cautious driver.
"He was all about safety,” she told NBC 7. “[I] wouldn't be surprised if he was confronting the suspect about reckless driving."
"He would often stop people driving fast through the neighborhood. Reprimanding them and saying there are children in the neighborhood," she added.
Jackson will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on the murder charge.
Buob’s friend, Amanda Cramer, told NBC 7 that a group of his friends planned a motorcycle ride to the courthouse to honor Buob as Jackson is arraigned.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s mother, Margie Jackson, told NBC 7 her daughter is not a murderer and the crash was an accident.
"They made it sound like she viciously went after him," said Margie. "Please, who does that? No. Not my daughter."