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. ALDO

    WHY WASNT SHE AT BINGONIGHT

    July 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. An adult - I hope!

    The boy tried to avoid the collision and having failed to do so acted like a man by remaining at the scene to take his licks, and do whatever he could to help. Hopefully he learned something, and no, he should not get a free ride (pun intended!) Wrongful actions have real consequences, usually metered to the culpability, behavior and intent of the wrongdoer.

    In this case (absent additional information) it appears the young man does deserve a slap on the wrist and a good chewing out from parents and others on the consequences of his immature behavior and the pain it causes to others. In view of the death he might even deserve some short time incarceration in a juvenile facility to drive home the lesson.
    However, if he "got the message" and now understands the adult consequences of his juvenile actions (the death of another human being), the death penalty or life imprisonment may be a bit much.

    BTW – that's why past a certain age the law in most states allows a juvenile to be tried, convicted and sentenced as an adult if the conduct warrants it. Here that does not seem to be the case, and some compassion for both the victim and the accidental "perp" seem to be in order – with some appopriate "juvenile" consequences to the "perp" as well!

    July 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. aminmd

    The young man made a very poor decision which was also illegal. If she was in a crosswalk, regardless of whether there was also a stop sign, traffic is required to stop for the pedestrian. All operators of wheeled vehicles are supposed to yield to pedestrians. It was not a freak accident; it was the result of willful disregard for the law. He did wait with her for help, and he will live with the memory of this the rest of his life, but her life was worth more than dying in the street so that a young man could get his kicks. We should be compassionate, but the young man and others who do the same, especially drivers and cyclists, need to know that they don't live in a vacuum and that traffic laws are to be obeyed by everyone.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MLB

    sounds like involuntary manslaughter to me.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike d

      Sounds like retardation to me...

      July 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sad For Life

    I hope for the complete destruction of the human race
    just so i do not have to listen to how low the human race
    has gone.
    I know i dont have to be hear, and i probably wont be hear again.

    But when people defend the "THUG" who killed this woman,

    What you are saying is that.....
    she is old
    he is young
    and that makes it OK ????????

    S I C K !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

      If it was a bike,(which happens waaaaay more often) I bet youd call it an accident...idiot.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not me

      hear=what you do with your ears and the parts inside them.
      here=the word you really wanted to use.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      No, that's not why. it's because there was nothing malicious done and it's stupid for you to call him a thug.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • kake79

      Thug? It's called an accident. Should he not have been doing what he was doing? Yes. Should he get into some sort of trouble? Yes. But to call him a thug implies that he intended to hurt/kill an elderly woman. The fact that he stopped and stayed with her seems to indicate something about his character.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if . . .

      I would love to talk with you in person and pick that rational brain of yours to pieces. Such a Tool you are . . . .

      July 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      "Sad for Life" That name suits you well, what a miserable person you are, but I think "Retard for Life" would suit you much better. Oh yeah, and before you report abuse on my comment I just made to you. I want you to know that I took complete offence to your heartless comment about "hoping for the human race to be destroyed." By the looks of it, many others agree with me too.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. a reply

    If you're old and frail enough to die from the equivalent of a football tackle from the scrawny high school field goal kicker, well, you can't blame the kid who ran into her. Let's be honest, most of us would have gotten right back up with a light bruise. Who knows, maybe she wasn't looking and stepped right in front of him...the article doesn't really say. I'll take young kids skateboarding over (really) old people driving, anyday. Of course, I'd still hope they wear helmets.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMSKEF1

      She died of head trauma. What is he had knocked over and killed a seven year old? Although I don't think this kid belongs in jail some charges are warranted if for no other reason then to make it clear such behavior cannot be tolerated even by a 15-year old.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonbeam

      My lawyer once told me that the law in California is that you "take a plaintiff as you find him or her," meaning if she had a pre-existing weakness, including old age, that does not get a defendant off the hook. True, a younger and stronger person might have sustained only minor injuries, but that is not a defense. Skateboarding in a restricted area could even have caused the death of a toddler who was walking with a parent or even a baby in a stroller. In fact, often a broken hip in a fall is like a death sentence for an old person. People should not skateboard in an area where it is forbidden, even in the unlikely event she stepped in front of him. The fact that she was old and frail is not an excuse for what he did. Sad her husband of over 60 years didn't even get to say goodbye - her life should not have ended that way because of a reckless, irresponsible kid. I hope his parents have good homeowners insurance that will cover this, or they might be out-of-pocket for their kid's actions. At least he did stop and try to offer assistance, and I'm sure this will probably haunt him the rest of his life.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      And knows knows if someone removed your brain while you were sleeping last night.

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

      get real, if a kid got ran over it would mean a parent wasn't doing their job watching their own kid. look, the situation isn't fully described, you can't know if the woman wasn't paying attention to her surroundings (she evidently didn't see the kid on the skateboard), or if the truck driver who stopped for her distracted her and made for an unusual traffic situation...etc. like some other guy said, if it was a skinhead on a bike people would just say "oh, tragic"...but old people hate skateboarding for whatever reason and just assume every kid who does it is a thug. I guess I really need to watch out for those little 10-year old thugs in my apartment complex! and all those college students skateboarding on campus! they're all doing a prohibited activity!

      July 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty Shempf

      I agree with JMSKEF1, 15-year-olds should not tolerate this.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen onCape Cod

      You are an idiot.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lou50

    this is a good example, when you are dead you become irrelevant. Since it is against the law to shoot someone would they make excuses like they are here if someone was cleaning a gun and fired a round thru the wall and killed someone. the police are saying the hill was great to go fast, just forget the ordnance, that prohibits skateboarding in the town in the first place.

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

      Shut up...it was an accident. A terrible accident.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • unretired05

      MikeD were you on the Casey Anthony jury?

      July 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    Excellent reporting CNN. Real Pulitzer worthy stuff here.

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

    So much stupidity here. Just an accident, the kid as to live with it forever. Very sad.

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

      exactly, no winners either way

      July 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    I think some people need to take a step back – we can't call him a punk or anything else because he rides a skate board... The poor guy was just in an accident where someone was killed – we should not judge people until we have Personally met them. I also wouldn't blame the police if they decided not to site the young man for the incident... This is something he'll have to live with the rest of his life – that's punishment enough (and then some)..

    July 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TheGreek

    Excellent reporting CNN. Real Pulitzer worthy stuff here.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kyle

    I remember when we were kids (13-15 yo) we were playing touch football in our street, when one of our neighbors, and old lady, walked out in the street in the middle of our game, one of the other kids was looking at the ball to catch, not realizing she was in his way and collided. We helped her up, and made sure she was allright and apologized profuseley, she said it wasnt a big deal. Two days later she died suddenly, we could only hope of unrelated causes, but still felt guilty about it.

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

      It speaks your good character that you still feel guilty about it, but your incident involved a lady who knowingly stepped into a street, which is a recognized known danger for anyone on foot. While I too hope her death was unrelated to the accident, it was indeed an unforeseeable accident - you didn't expect to see a pedestrian step into the middle of your game, and you were not in violation of any posted restrictions about playing football in the street.

      However, the accident in question here involved a pedestrian walkway where, unlike in a street, the victim had a right to expect only fellow pedestrians and not cars, bikes or anyone on a skateboard. Not only was it a posted restricted area prohibiting skateboards, but the additional fact that the walkway was on a hill where skateboard speed could easily get out of control, and that walkway is also shared by pedestrians, that is an obvious and foreseeable dangerous condition that the kid on the skateboard created.

      That's the difference between his accident and yours. I hope that brings you some comfort.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. evergreen

    Well done bravo. The kid did a great job he should have to reward for that so other kids will be encourage too who cares to that old lady she is burden to everybody killing old woman of eighty three is not so serious it is just like killing of cat and dog in streets.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Socks

    I see the bleeding hearts are out in full force tonight, railing against anything that moves.

    Bleed on haters, bleed on.

    Just admit that you're old, out of touch and generally irrelevant.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek711

      LOL, yeah, and they should also just admit that they are bleeding their own children and grand children dry of their income for their own SSI. Thank you old people, you are taking money out of our checks that we need to feed ourselves and our families, just so you can go on your vacations to FL every year. You do know that us young "THUGS" are paying into SSI that we will never see when we grow old, don't you? Because SSI will be gone once the baby boomers get to it. A simple "thank you" would be nice to hear once in awhile.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TwoCents

    @ Mike d: Thank you for making you point so clear. It is obvious that your education and rhetorical statements are the epitome of this comment section.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
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