Woman, 83, dies after being struck by skateboarder
Maryann Slettehaugh was in a crosswalk when she was struck by a skateboarder.
July 7th, 2011
01:14 PM ET

Woman, 83, dies after being struck by skateboarder

An 83-year-old Northern California woman has died after being hit by a skateboarder moving at 15 to 20 miles an hour, police said.

Maryann Slettehaugh was crossing a street in Capitola, California, Tuesday afternoon when she was struck by a 17-year-old boy, Capitola police Sgt. Andrew Dally told CNN affiliate KSBW-TV.

Dally said the skateboarder, who was traveling down a steep hill, jumped off the board and tried to avoid colliding with Slettehaugh but was unable to, according to KSBW. He stayed with the injured woman after the collision.

Slettehaugh was in a crosswalk and a panel truck had stopped to let her pass, according to media reports.

Slettehaugh was airlifted to a San Jose hospital, where she was pronounced dead, CNN affiliate KION-TV reported.

The teen has not been charged in the incident, but detectives are investigating, Capitola police Detective Marquis Booth told CNN.

Booth said municipal code prohibits skateboarding the Capitola Village commercial district where the accident occurred and the teen was cited for a violation.

"It just isn't a good mix when we have skateboarders," Booth said. "You can gain some pretty good speed going down that hill."

Dally told KSBW, "It was not a malicious type of act. He seemed like a pretty clean-cut and honest kid."

Slettehaugh's husband of 64 years, George Slettehaugh, told CNN affiliate KTVU-TV his wife had been hit by a skateboard 15 years ago.

"She was leery of them and tried to avoid them," George Slettehaugh said in an interview. "[She] kept watching for them all the time."

Maryann Slettehaugh was on her daily walk from her home to the beach when she was struck, according to media reports.

"It was her daily routine. She lived just two or three blocks away," Dally told KSBW.

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Filed under: California
soundoff (1,053 Responses)
  1. Nerd


    July 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dee

    He was cited for a violation? How about manslaughter?

    July 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marry Ann

      Manslughter what? Because he has an accident?
      What is wrong with you people?
      You want to put a kid in jail for an accident yet you idiots let a child killer go free just because her lawyer made up a bunh of lies and imaginary friends.
      You Americans REALY need to get your priorities straight.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dr. Bombay

    ___ Skateboarding is NOT a Crime !! ___

    When skateboards are outlawed, only outlaws will have skateboards !

    July 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • gedwards

      Actually is WAS a crime where he was doing it.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Motoman

      It was a crime in this case.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      IT WAS A CRIME... What part of that don't you get?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobby

      Her old A$$ was about to die anyway.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      i think bombay is being sarcastic...

      July 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      LOL, Bombay WAS being sarcastic, and it was clever sarcasm too. Have you ever heard the slogan from those who believe in their rights to own guns? Their slogan is "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!" So, many of you missed the sarcasm, he wasn't actually being serious.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dtresh

    Skateboards belong at skate parks, and I also believe that bicyclists are getting to many rights as well.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fooglmog

      And cars only belong on race tracks. The rights they're getting are even more ridiculous than Skateboards or Bikes.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Motoman

      Bicyclists are getting "to" many rights and it's about time they got them.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ric

      let me guess...you drive a caddilac Escalade with handicapped sticker because you are 300 pounds overweight and thin you own the road and all pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders and other should stay the hell out of your way or else...

      July 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenwheels

      I think that drivers who resent cyclists are just jealous that someone is more inclined to be healthier than they are. What joke these fat slobs are constantly veering at cyclists because they resent other people being active sentient beings while the Drivers pollute the earth, in their precious cars on their precious errands – their really important 7/11 slushie run, so they can keep on with the great american pursuit of happiness and diabetes.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      skateboards have no ability to control their speed, and most of the riders do alcohol and drugs as well. no sympathy for this kid. if you're gonna rush out and defend him because your kid skateboards, maybe you need to ask him/her some questions (i have been hit once by a skateboarder and have had several near misses)

      July 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      I think everyone is getting to many rights these days. Cars belong on race tracks, bikes belong in designated bicycle areas, guns belong in the hand of criminals and police, skateboards belong in skate parks, ice skates belong only in hockey rinks, and the right to freedom belongs no where. *sarcasm*

      July 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sad For Life

    Out of control thugs that have no care
    for anyone but themselves.
    Break the law
    kill somebody, and scream
    it was just an accident.

    I guess that if you are young and stupid
    you are still worth more than when you are old and wise.

    Sue the freaking crap out of the parents who raised this punk.
    People need to be held responsible for what they do.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pismire

      Are you frigg1in stupid? Out of control? She probably was hidden by the truck and he was cruising then bam, there she is. He jumped off. That means last minute. Like hitting the brakes in a car last minute when something comes out of nowhere. Give the kids a break. If he was a punk, he would have laughed, high-5'd his friends, and skated off. He stayed with her. This is a good kid in a bad scenario. He will mentally be ruined for life and it wasn't his fault.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wha


      Sue the freaking crap out of the parents who raised this punk.
      People need to be held responsible for what they do.

      Not the kid...so making the parents responsible for what he did....

      Kinna....backwards to your statement.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Hang him!

      July 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judywire

      It is sad to see such a beautiful grandma go this way. These children are law breakers and should be treated as such. The government should start giving out heavy fines to these holigans. If they think this is some kind of sports, let them take their madness to the park. As for this 17 year old whom I believe is a drop-out, he should be charged because he knew what he was doing. May the soul of grandma rest in peace, amen!

      July 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenwheels

      How the hell do you sue parents for a freak accident. This kid was not doing 40 mph. He was minorly negligent, as teenagers tend to be. He did not act in malice and deny anyting, he staid at the scene, I think the real question is what the hell is YOUR problem?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      You should get a ticket for ugly judgement-alism. You weren't there, you know nothing.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      skateboards have no brakes and can easily hit pedestrians, bicycles, cars. only in skate parks, definitely.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      it was an accident. clearly the young guy did not intend for this to happen and stayed with her the entire time. accidents happen, and this is clearly tragic, but jumping to conclusions about the boy's character (i.e. he is a punk) is simply moronic on your part and it makes you sound uneducated, unintelligent and quite frankly, like an a**hole.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      @mike: doesn't matter if he "intended" this to happen. he put her in danger (by riding a skateboard, an inherently dangerous vehicle) and failed to protect her from it. see: negligence.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joe shoemaker

    when my mom was 17 she was hit while walking on the side walk by an 82 year old driver .my oldest son has friend who was ran over by an 87 year old woman backing out of her drive way then when she realized she had hit someyhing because his father was screaming at her to stop she then put the car in drive and ran over him again he was 8 at the time has had mulitiple surgeries and to this day walks with a limp. and last year my wife was knocked to the ground by a 91 year old man while renewing her drivers license. the man had also just gotten his license so I guess when old people stop running over youg people I will start feeling sorry for them.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lloyd

      You won't "feel sorry" for innocent elderly victims because other elderly people are negligent. Bigot.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      When did this lady do any of the things you describe? Your argument makes no sense.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenwheels

      A more intelligent person would advocate for better management of senior driver's licenses. You are just a feral minded idiot. You better duck, the karma boomerang is coming your way.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buddy Gold

    If he was an honest kid, why was he breaking the law by riding where he wasn't supposed to? Had he really been honest and followed the law, she would be alive today.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brozik 2.0

      Honesty doesn't mean following the law, honesty means telling the truth. You got your engrish mixed up.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pismire

      Probably, dumb-a55, because he didn't know it was illegal. Most of the "signs" are not well-placed. Let's say he's 12-15... How the hell would he know what the "laws" are? I suppose he should have known hand-signals too. Accidents happen. the problem here is the sue-happy mentality like yours... Quick to place blame, quick to want $$$$. I bet the old man husband actually says something nice to the kid and forgives him.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • JKT

      And you are 100% sure he knew the law? No, it's not an excuse to break it, but you're personally attacking him and not his actions, so that brings this question completely into play. Unless you know for a fact he knew the law, you cannot judge whether he's an honest kid. So don't.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maX

    i think old people have to many rights

    July 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maX

    why wasnt she at BINGO?

    July 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nicole

    many teenagers skateboard, that does not make them bad people or "punks". this was obviously an accident and the fact that he stayed with the woman shows a level of responsibility. horrible accidents happen all the time and i cant imagine the level of guilt the poor teen is feeling. this will be something that will stay with him for probably the rest of his life

    July 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      skateboards have no breaks and very little control compared to cars or bicycles. the very act of riding one is irresponsible. this kid and his family should definitely get sued.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      haha i mean brakes (oops)

      July 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if . . .

      @onion addict. Skateboards have little control? Have you not seen the skill/talent/ability of many of today's youth who contructively apply that to things such as skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding??

      The very act of skateboarding is irresponsible???? You are a joke and your radical, irrational views are irresponsible. Its too bad you can't be sued for being a Moron. A few of us here would be more than happy to lighten your pockets.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      my opinions are "irresponsible," in the same way as killing a woman? please enlighten me.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      nothing? those gears still turning?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. youkiddingme?

    Here's the problem with skateboards – if the 17 year old had been on a bicycle, or a motorcycle or in a car...they all have brakes and he might have easily been able to stop in time from 15-20 mph to avoid hitting her. All other vehicles mentioned are also WAY more manueverable and he might have been able to swerve and miss her. But SKATEBOARDS have no brakes and are not that manueverable (at 15-20mph)...however, since many people think they're just toys for people to have fun with – they don't understand that they are dangerous to innocent bystanders. Forget this noise about the victim being 83 years old...an object with the weight of a 17 year old boy moving at 15-20 mph develops enough energy to kill the healthiest, most robust person alive!

    July 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lloyd

      You're suggesting that skateboards present a greater danger to pedestrians than cars because skateboards don't have wheel brakes (skateboard riders certainly have methods to slow down, including taildragging and powerslides). I very much doubt that this is true.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • youkiddingme?

      I'm saying that just because skateboards are fun, doesn't mean they are safe. People do unexpected things...if you are traveling as much as 20mph on a vehicle you can't stop in time to avoid killing a living, breathing person who has people who care for them – then how does it make it okay somehow to just say "oh – it was just an accident... he couldn't help it!" Going up to 20mph on a public street where people could be at risk is something he could have chosen not to do. What he was doing was creating a risk for innocent people. It could have been YOU who was crossing the street when someone who was not worried about the safety of others slammed into YOU at 20mpth...and it would likely have killed you even if you aren't anywhere near 83 years old and even if you are in perfect health.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Derek711

    Let me get this straight, an 83 year old woman who was struck and killed by an apparently well-meaning kid, and this is one of the most popular stories on in the headlines?

    Meanwhile, our teenagers (and 20 year old's) are overseas getting shot down and blown apart daily, dying in such horrible ways one could not even comprehend. How come that doesn't make the headlines? How come we don't want to hang the old people who sent those young men off into those hellish areas of the world?

    Beyond that, a young life is destroyed everyday because of the drugs, poverty, and violence that are currently plaguing this nation is continuing to spiral out of control and the youngsters are paying the price for all of it. I'm sorry to sound cold-hearted or uncaring, i truly feel for the poor old lady and her family, but I had to get this off my chest. God bless you all.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lloyd

      The news isn't a contest. It isn't a soapbox. It's about what's newsworthy. It's very unusual for old ladies to get killed by skateboarders. All of us know some old ladies. All of us know some skaters. So it's interesting, and it gets covered.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      Yeah, and a lot of us have family members who died in a terrible way on the other side of the world, how is that not news worthy?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan123

      I"m with Derek. He's right on. This is nothing more than a CNN grab for ratings and website hits. People, young and old, die in accidents all the time. Is it sad that she was someone's wife, mother, sister, lover? Sure. But does this make it newsworthy compared to the rest of the things going on in the world that are not accidental, and have far graver human cost? I think not. The fact that the kid was a "skateboarder" (oh the horror) makes it sensational, and let's forget about the fact that he did the right thing, stayed with the victim and did not pull a Casey Anthony. Our media wants to give us people to demonize and Casey is so yesterday, so why don't we replace her with a skateboarder?

      July 8, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Lloyd

      Give me a break. The wars are newsworthy. They gets lots of coverage. Any of us can be as informed about the wars as we choose to be.

      Why are you trying to stir up an argument about whose life is more important? Trying to pit some poor old lady against soldiers killed in Iraq?

      July 8, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike Urciolo

    Saying he is a trash punk because he's a skateborder is as silly as the comment in the article that it wasn't a malicious act because the kid was "clean cut." Having short hair doesn't make you a saint anymore than riding a skateboard makes you a murderer.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • onion addict

      but skateboards have no brakes and no ability to control their speed. they only belong in skate parks. perhaps not a murderer, but riding one on a public street DOES make you irresponsible.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignonrantperson

      Actually, a key part of skateboarding is knowing how to break with your foot, which is actually very effective.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • haywood jablome

      brake with your foot LOL

      once you are bombing a proper hill, you have NO way of stopping til you fall or finish the hill...

      moving along... is a skater bombing a hill in traffic risky? sure. but so is an 83 year old woman crossing a street by herself...


      July 8, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • wjmknight

      Are you actually blaming the woman for crossing the street because of her age? You're sick. That little punk is now a murderer and I hope his butt lands in jail for a good long time.

      July 8, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • dogs rule

      I completely agree with you! Kids are rotten, spoiled, self-serving punks, anyway!

      July 8, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      No, because he stopped. He was a fool and went down a street too steep, and now he's killed someone, but at least he stopped.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • readb4talk

      Irresponsibility is a civil, not a criminal, matter. Charging the skateboarder with a crime isn't appropriate; suing him in a civil suit for damages may be the remedy.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
    • guesswhat

      you can control your speed, its called a powerslide

      July 8, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyser

      Obviously you've never skated before......Cars carry gasoline and gasoline burns and can explode, but we still drive cars if thats your logic.

      July 8, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Drake

      Actually if you skated you would know that the powerslide is a pretty decent brake. And people who skate know how to control speed this kid just got unlucky and the lady even more so un lucky

      July 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • chance

      Actually you can footbrake or use slide gloves. The kid could have prevented it better If he tried one of the two. Then again I longboard. Two different crowds. Idk if the kid was skateboard or longboarding

      July 17, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Zack

      Umm, "clean-cut" doesn't mean the kid had well-groomed hair, genius. It means the kid had clearly never committed a malicious act, nor intended on committing one, and felt genuine remorse for taking the life of another human being.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Musicdorian

      Last time I looked, clean cut referred to a haircut, such as in policeman's buzz cut.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Ted Bundy was well groomed

      July 8, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      How about you look up the definition before you post, it will make you look smarter.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • MrMajestik

      But being a skateboarder strongly suggests you are an idiot without many other skills and talents, certainly not a job... not 1.0 correlation, but very strong correlation, perhaps in .8 range

      July 8, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jan F

      "But being a skateboarder strongly suggests you are an idiot without many other skills and talents, certainly not a job... not 1.0 correlation, but very strong correlation, perhaps in .8 range"

      Really? So, does having a name that's neither properly spelled nor properly spaced make you a jerk, or do you just come by that naturally? Your posts are offensive and not germaine to the subject. I suppose listening to that rock and roll music that the kids listen to makes you a juvenile delinquent as well?

      July 8, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Ha! Don't use things like multi-syllabic words with this guy. There's about a 0.8-1.0 likelihood that he won't understand it.

      And also probably not the basis of percentages being out of one. In base-10 arithmetic anyway.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • NickolausTucson

      You're so cute, MrMajestik... between the name and the use of the "correlation factors", I'd say your a low-level analyst at a Bank of America with a hefty paunch and a thing for little boys

      July 8, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • DummyDeather

      NickolausTuscon: 1
      MrMajestik: -4

      Majestik you are a complete tool!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Coaster

      I'm sure you have plenty of personal experience in the 1:1 correlation area of being an idiot without many other skills or talents. Experience with skateboarders? I'd say that correlation would be 0:1.

      I knew a kid years ago who's last name was Majestik. He was a short rolly polly sweaty-all-the-time sort of kid. Kind of sad you reminded me of him.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • waikikiskater

      You are clearly an ignorant piece of trash, I skate, I am 19, have TWO jobs, have been working since I was 14, graduated early from highschool, have plans for college and a career and I SKATE. I longboard to work every damn day and yes, it can be dangerous, so are bikes, there are accidents with worn out brakepads and blown tires all the time, plus they ride in the road presenting risks to themselves and drivers. So, before you go making insipid generalizations like that why don't you stop and think for a second?

      July 8, 2011 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Goon

      You can generalize skateboarders all you want, but it does not make it true. Kids in general these day are really dumb and irresponsible. Think of how many teenagers (or even adults in this case) drink, drive and kill a car load of people.

      Anyways, if the kid was any good at skateboarding, he would have easily avoided the lady. I won't even classify him as a "skateboarder". He was probably just like the your kids and/or grandkids (assuming you have them, and those of you getting all self righteous in here probably do) and having fun.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • yeah?

      Yeah? that's why i could out run you, crack you in football, hit a baseball farther than you, and pop a 360 flip way higher than you have ever seen.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garrett Sutton

      I've been skateboarding for 19 years, I have a college degree, an IQ of 143 and a well paying job. And I know I'm doing way better than you are. Shut up and read a book you moron.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • joshua

      Regardless if you're a dr., teacher, senator or skateboarder when you break the law and killed another person there should be harsh consequences.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas Paine

      No, riding a skateboard does not make you a murderer. Killing someone does.

      July 8, 2011 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Zack

      "Clean-Cut" carries further meaning than a hairstyle.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. maX

    why wasnt she at BINGO

    July 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Debi

    My sympathy to the lady's family. The young man should be charged to the fullest extent of the law. He had total disreagard for the law and a woman is dead as a result. He should be made to pay for all of her funeral expenses and her husband should file a wrongful death suit. Keep skateboards where they belong.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      He's wasn't a young man he was a boy. Why would he have charged to the fullest extent of the law? Because he was having fun on his skateboard and collided with an old lady he wasn't trying to harm? How do you know he even knew that he was breaking the law, did he go to law school or something? Are there large signs indicating not to skateboard on the road he was on, and if there are, are they well placed? Maybe the city should be sued for not making it clear enough that skateboarding in that area is illegal. Why punish the kid even more, when he is going to have carry the burden of causing someone's death on his shoulders for the remainder of his life? Were you not a teenager at one time, who made mistakes or ignorant decisions? I know I did.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      correction: *why would he have to be charged to the fullest extent of the law*

      July 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
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