TAHOE CITY - A Truckee man pleaded innocent Tuesday afternoon in a stabbing death last week in Tahoe City that authorities described as a road-rage incident that turned deadly.
Robert Lawrence Ash, 48, bled to death when his kidney, liver and renal artery were damaged by the one-stroke stabbing, according to Sgt. Dan Ingalls of the Placer County Sheriff's Department.
Ash's family and friends gathered at Heritage Park, site of the stabbing, on Tuesday morning for a memorial service to celebrate the life of the Newcastle, Calif., man. He also had a home in Tahoe Donner in Truckee, which he shared with his wife, Mimi, and their 14-year-old son, Bobby.
Ash, a developer, was building a 34-unit town home project on Palisades Drive in Truckee, his wife said.
Mimi Ash described her husband of 22 years as a fun-loving and talented man who enjoyed skiing, cooking, the arts and music.
"Bob loved everything that had to do with life," she said. "Bob loved people and people loved Bob."
He was also close to his son.
"They were best buddies," Mimi Ash said. "He was his ski coach, his mentor. They did everything together."
Timothy George Brooks, 25, is charged with murder for allegedly stabbing Ash in the abdomen with a five-inch blade in front of Syd's Bagelry in Tahoe City on Aug. 17. He is being held in Placer County Jail in Auburn without bail.
Ash was driving on Highway 89 north of Squaw Valley Road when he cut off Brooks, investigators said.
The incident angered Brooks to the point he searched for 30 minutes until he found Ash sitting in front of the Tahoe City restaurant, according to Ingalls.
The two argued and then began to fight before Ash was stabbed, according to investigators. Brooks was arrested without incident at the scene.
Ash was born in Concord, Calif., in 1957 and moved to Incline Village in 1968, where he graduated from Incline High School in 1976. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno. He has lived in Carmel, the Bay area and Sacramento.
"He loved the wilderness. He was a family man," said a friend of 30 years, Mike Shimmon. "He was very athletic and loved his kid more than anything except for his wife."
His friends, who met Ash through skiing, said he was gravitating toward the ideals of Buddhism and had a huge heart.
"He is going to be missed dearly," said Lance Hazelrigg, another longtime friend. "We moved here 30 years ago to get away from this (violence), and the first time it has happened in Tahoe City was to our best friend."
The Aug. 17 killing was the fifth on the North Shore in the last 18 years handled by the Placer County Sheriff's Office Tahoe City substation, according to that office. It was the first in 11 years.
n Reporter Renée Shadforth contributed to this story.