NATHALIA police are investigating the death of well-known Echuca-Moama businessman Adrian McDonald in a single-car crash at Yielima in the early hours of Friday.
Mr McDonald was understood to be on his way home from Berrigan, where he does work with Baxter Transport.
Police believe his car was travelling west on Picola North Rd when it left the roadway and struck a tree about 2am.
They said that Mr McDonald, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene.
A local nurse, who was on her way to work, called police after she found the badly-damaged car around 6.25am, between Baxter Rd and Graham Lane.
The exact cause of the crash has not been determined and police have appealed for anyone who may have been in the vicinity to contact them via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Nathalia police on 5866 2404.
Paul Jarman, who is a partner with Mr McDonald in the Star Hotel, said that he was still in shock after being told on Friday about the accident.
“It’s very sad, you always expect to see someone turn up where and when they are supposed to, and when that doesn’t happen it’s such a shock, so hard to believe,” Mr Jarman said.
“Adrian was raised in Wangaratta but he came here 30 years ago and he fell in love with the twin towns and became a local,” he said.
“He did a lot of good things around town, had several businesses and was a foundation member of the Horizon Committee, which did such good work with things like the Murray Meander, and was a member of many other charities around town.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing him for 25 years, and being in business with him for the past 10 years at the Star Hotel.”
Mr Jarman said Mr McDonald is survived by his partner Jo, his parents in Wangaratta and also had step-grandchildren in Echuca-Moama.
Mr McDonald’s death brings the 2017 Victorian road toll for the year to date to 152, compared with 182 at the same time in 2016.