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Michele Achilli Killed in Fiery Car Crash

Murdered Los Gatos restaurateur's Mark Achilli's widow was woman found burned inside a Volkswagen Beetle early Tuesday morning on Highway 9 in Saratoga.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed this morning that

A medical examiner at the office this morning said Achilli, 54, of Santa Cruz, is the deceased Jane Doe that Cal Fire and CHP investigators found at the scene of the grisly accident that was reported shortly after 12:23 a.m. Tuesday.

Mark Achilli, 53, was killed March 14, 2008, when he was shot eight times in the driveway of his Overlook Road townhouse in Los Gatos. Michele Achilli was left to care for her three children alone, living with the pain of the horrific tragedy.

Longtime friend Chuck Cucco declined comment on the tragic death, but acknowledged knowing about it.

Similarly, employees at who were longtime friends of the Achilli family, declined comment.

A bartender at , who described Mark Achilli as a dear friend, said he was shocked and upset about the death and declined to give his name.

, said he was shocked and saddened by the reports of Michele Achilli's death.

"She showed remarkable courage and grace during the tragic events surrounding her husband's murder and will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, especially her daughter, Alexandra. We are hopeful the family's privacy will be respected during this difficult time," Fletcher said.

A close friend of Michele, who declined to be identified, said the news has devastated the family, especially the children. She added that a memorial service is already being planned, but will be private for just close friends and family.

Achilli owned the popular downtown Los Gatos nightspot Mountain Charley's saloon and the adjacent 180 Restaurant until 2007, when he sold them to Garcia.

The Volkswagen Beetle and her body were discovered after Cal Fire responded to a report of a brush fire off the road of Highway 9. After fighting the blaze, officials found the vehicle and the remains, said CHP spokesman John Darling.

"Everything is still under investigation," Darling said Tuesday morning about the crash, adding that preliminary reports indicate the vehicle was traveling at a speed too great for the driver to negotiate a turn, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway, where it caught fire as it impacted an object, killing the driver.

Michele Achilli's car was 50 feet off the roadway and 125 feet down the embankment, which made recovery difficult, Darling said.

The medical examiner said it would take several weeks to complete a full autopsy report, which will be made available to the public.

This story is developing and Los Gatos Patch will be updating it as more information becomes available.

Mike Calahan August 08, 2012 at 08:15 PM
This is horrible. I can't begin to imagine what the kids must be going through after having gone through so much, already.
ira Spector August 08, 2012 at 09:05 PM
This is devastating news for the family. Mark, Michelle, and their daughter Alex were our neighbors for many years, and Barbara and I watched Alex grow up into a beautiful young woman. We remain in contact with Alex, and it's impossible to express in words the sadness we feel for her and her family for their tragic losses.
Larry Arzie August 08, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I hope people leave the family alone and don't start conspiracy theories. They have been through enough. My condolences to her family and friends.
Mondy Lariz August 08, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Wow, I hope there is a full and thorough investigation. Could there have been foul play?
Yossi rosha August 08, 2012 at 11:29 PM
My condolences to David and his sisters from Yosi friend of rami Cohen
James George August 08, 2012 at 11:36 PM
OMG. I hope they can check to make sure the brakes on the car weren't tampered with. Who knows what kind of revenge motive may be out there?
Joni Holland August 08, 2012 at 11:43 PM
This is too sad for words.
Esmée St James August 08, 2012 at 11:56 PM
My heart goes out to those kids, this is so tragic.
whatsamatteru August 08, 2012 at 11:58 PM
im very deeply sadden by this news and i must say its not quiet ethically reporting to keep making reference to the father...do you stop to think the daughter doesnt need to read this...bad reporting as usual pff soo sad.
whatsamatteru August 08, 2012 at 11:59 PM
im very deeply sadden by this news and i must say its not quiet ethically reporting to keep making reference to the father...do you stop to think the daughter doesnt need to read this...bad reporting as usual pff soo sad.
Stephanie Campbell August 09, 2012 at 01:56 AM
This is just so sad....how much more tragedy can this family take..my thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends,,
Jim Thrall August 09, 2012 at 04:32 AM
So sad. The family has been through so much. Just when it appeared they could move forward, this happens. I pray for peace for the family.
Jesse Ducker August 09, 2012 at 05:52 AM
This is just unspeakably awful. Wish nothing but the best for the surviving children and family.
Mckenna Smith August 09, 2012 at 04:36 PM
My heart is broken for this family. Michele was both beautiful on the inside and outside. She was always so kind and caring and we admired the way she handled the adversity in her life. Her death leaves a void in our lives and in the lives of her 3 children. She will live forever in the hearts of everyone who knew her. Please let us know if there's anything we can do for the family.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz August 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
My condolences to the Family & Friends. This is so very sad, but it does happen.
Larry Cargnoni August 10, 2012 at 06:59 PM
wow....very sad. prayers to the family
Doris August 11, 2012 at 05:23 AM
So Sad.. Two beautiful parents, Achilli Children you are all in my prayers Be strong and walk with the lord, your parents are together now. God Bless you all..
Isis Moonheart August 12, 2012 at 05:48 AM
I concur
Betty White September 09, 2012 at 02:47 AM
So does anyone know when the autopsy report will be released?

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