BURBANK, Calif.-Winston Tire Co. co-founder and Chairman Sam Winston died Sept. 26 after he and his wife were involved in a one-vehicle accident in western Utah. Mr. Winston, 54, apparently was traveling from his Jiggs, Nev., home with his wife, Demetra, when their 1995 Jeep Wrangler ran off I-80 about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City and overturned, according to Verdi White, public information officer for the Utah Department for Public Safety.
Mr. Winston was thrown from the vehicle and died from his injuries. Mr. White said he was unsure whether Mr. Winston died at the scene of the accident, which occurred at about 10:50 a.m.
Mrs. Winston, who was driving the Jeep, was not seriously injured, Mr. White said.
The couple was driving to somewhere in Utah or Colorado, according to Herb Stevens, chief financial officer for Winston Tire.
The Burbank-based firm has not made a decision as to who will replace Mr. Winston as chairman, a company spokesman said Sept. 28.
``Sam Winston was a leader and an entrepreneur. He was dedicated to the people who worked with him and he was committed to our customers,'' Winston Tire President and CEO Tom Bonburg said in a statement. ``We intend to honor Sam's memory by continuing these solid business practices.''
Mr. Winston was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and moved to California as a young child.
He and and his stepfather, Rick Oliver, started Winston Tire in 1962 as a Delta-brand wholesaler. Two years later they opened their first retail store in Glendale, Calif. In 1971, with 42 retail stores, the company began offering its own Winston private label tire. Mr. Oliver retired in 1975.
Under Mr. Winston's guidance, the dealership has since grown to operate 170 tire and auto centers with 1,400 employees and an estimated $140 million in retail sales.
Besides his wife, survivors include: two children, Melissa Alfieri, Winston Tire market coordinator, and Sam II; and four grandchildren.