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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  1. mary

    Broke the law cause he thought the rules were not fair or not for him, or stupid..
    Now a woman is dead.. A mans wife and children's mother and Grandmother is gone..

    July 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goddess Su

      He broke the law because he is a 17 year BOY. He was skateboarding. He was not stealing, he was not robbing the woman, he was not joy-riding in a car down the street, he was not drinking or doing drugs or anything else (that we know of). He was skateboarding for God's sake. What is wrong with you people who look at him skateboarding as the ultimate crime (yes, yes, yes, I realize skateboards are not allowed in that area) and he deserves to go to prison. It was an ACCIDENT people. A tragic accident. ADULT drivers get less slack than this boy if they cause an accident that causes injury or takes a life. If a person falls asleep at the wheel, they're breaking the law. If they cross the line, they're breaking the law. If they run a stop sign, they break the law. And a life can be taken due to their error. And most likely, they'd only be charged with the vehicular law they broke, not manslaughter. And all you people can concentrate on is the fact that his skateboard shouldn't have been there. Good grief. I find it hard to believe that all of you were so well behaved as teens that you obeyed every "no loitering" law or every "no bicycles" law or the like. This is a tragedy all around. A life was lost and a young boy has to live with what happened for the rest of his life. It's horrible.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tim Jacksonville

    It was an accident; get off your high horse and think about when you were young and didn't think about breaking the law, I'm pretty sure everyone reading this story has either; drink and drive, smoked something or did something else (at the time) they felt wouldn't harm someone. Really people, this isn't a murder mystery, it was an accident. Calm down and play with your children instead this crap. I'm a father and I will teach my child how to skateboard, ride a dirtbike and anything else outside instead of teaching them to blog on the internet and play video games. The double standard is insane...

    July 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tharon

      Tim, I may be young but I agree on all accounts. And what I've been saying in my posts are simple enough for any idiot to comprehend. It's logic....it was an accident yes but that's not going to stop the grieving family from sueing/pressing charges. It's not going stop people from saying "he's just a kid" or "his parents are complete failures." What I'm saying is what's more than likely to happen and if it was any of us this happened to, we'd take the same route in wanting him to pay for this in some way. This might be a bit.....arrogant...to say but no one is going to argue this opinion because pretty much you're going to have to look your relative in the face and say "if you were killed in some way...accident or not...i'm not going to make whoever did it is going to pay." and i doubt anyone is going to do that if they love said relative

      July 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Jacksonville

      To Tharon – I agree, had this happen to a family member of mine I would be very upset and given the right to be upset. But I have enough sense to know; kids are kids, and an accident is an accident. I was in a major accident, the kid that hit me after running a red light and injuring my back was an accident but you know what, he left the scene; he left me for dead. This kid in the story stayed with the woman; I read all the time when "kids" driving hit someone else while walking or whatever and they take off; they're scared and don't know what to do. But this young man stayed there, he did whatever he could. Anger is a natural thing, but this is getting blown way out of it's league for what really happened. Thank you for your comment, and I respect your comment, kind regards and have a good night.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mary

    Why try..
    Too many kids now days don't have a clue..
    Sooner than they know they will be old.. They think life last much much longer than it does.. They think it takes forever to grow old..But in a blink of an eye.. They will be wondering how it happened to them, so fast..
    Then they will know.. šŸ™‚

    July 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random

      At least these kinds of kids will have lived. Kids like him have fun skateboarding and going places. Unlike you, these kids will have had some life experiences by the time they area 80 years old and starring down a kid on a skate board going 25 miles an hour down a hill.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Moonbeam

      You are absolutely right. I can relate. I used to never think I would get old and I also used to drive carelessly (although I never hit anybody). 40 years later, I find these young punks acting the same way I did and not thinking about what they're doing. Oh well, they will get theirs.

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

      They will know what exactly? Not to ride skateboards? Maybe avoid walking through intersections when a slip in the tub could kill you? Iā€™m not blaming ether side here people.. but wow get off your high horse it was an accident.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Poppy

      Like every other generation that has ever been born? Nice grasp of the obvious.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. keith

    he made a mistake but he didn't commit a crime other than to be skateboarding where he shouldn't have been. he didn't get on that board as if he were headed down that hill saying 'i'm gonna hit someone'. Just a tragic mistake is all

    July 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tharon

      Accident.....yes. Tragic.....yes. Will the "law" see it this way.....doubt it. Accident or not, someone's dead and our "law" will see to it that "justice" is served. Now the things that are in quotations is my way of simplifying that the relatives of the grandmother is probably about to attempt to make sure this kid is locked up and/or someone paying for the funeral expenses other than the family.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gail

    To Dave in Indy... I am the first to admit I do things wrong and if I do something against the law and get caught doing it, I expect to be punished accordingly... Fact: Skateboarding is illegal in that area. Fact: He knowingly rode down a steep hill on a skateboard. Fact: He hit someone and killed them. Fact: involuntary manslaughter
    : manslaughter resulting from the failure to perform a legal duty expressly required to safeguard human life, from the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or from the commission of a lawful act involving a risk of injury or death that is done in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner.... Plain and simple, he broke the law, someone died because of what he did, he needs to be punished.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tharon

    Like how people choose sides on the right and wrong here. Yes, it was an accident......yes, skateboarding was prohibited in said area.....yes, he stayed with her til help arrived....yes, he should've known better. From my understanding, technically he broke the law by skateboarding and more than likely he'll serve some time for this. What half of you are probably complaining about is that he's a kid (whether or not you call him stupid/ignorant/whatever else is up for opinion) and shouldn't be 'severly' punished or it was an accident. Well however you wanna look at it, someone's grandmother is dead because of this and I can guarantee you they ain't going to let him off the hook and you wouldn't either if it was your relative. So drop the act people.......you'll act the same if this happened to you

    July 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rob

    sounds like the old lady had it coming jajajaja

    July 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Glenn

    IT WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT. THE YOUNG MAN BROKE A LAW. KILLED SOMEONE. Look I feel sorry for anyone that does not think about consequences before they embark down a path of self pleasure. Prayers for all involved because this could have been prevented. PARENTS: WAKE UP AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO OBEY LAWS.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tharon

      I'd be happy if parents actually TAUGHT kids anything really..........manners, how to respect people, common sense, how to take care of themselves. Because sadly...and from the children i've seen nowadays......parents are getting owned by their kids. By this, I mean the kids are smart enough to know what the parents are going to do and they do just enough to get by.........this accident may/may not be a perfect example depending where you stand on the arguement

      July 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KM

    Skateboarders are a nuisance, no matter what city or county they are in and regardless of their age. The kids are being taught to be irresponsible by idiots such as Rob Dyrdek and others.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDcanyon

      Skateboarding is not a crime!

      July 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It is a crime when you kill someone because you think the law doesn't apply to you.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      You know what an actual, real, DEADLY nuisance is? People who speed while driving. I bet you do it all the time, don't you? Go back to your cave, troll.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      Corey: Your obvious use of a straw man argument does nothing bolster your opinions.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cambob

      Little Old ladys are a nuicence....

      July 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MT

      Rob Dyrdek builds skate parks for kids so this kind of thing won't happen. Don't blame him for this, it was an accident, the kid stayed with the woman until the EMT came. It's very sad but not malicious...

      July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      @EuphoricCrest Please enlighten me as to what your argument is? That he broke the law? My argument is that speeding, in a vehicle, is breaking the law. You cannot tell me that more deaths occur to reckless skateboarding than reckless driving. Furthermore, speeding IS something that nearly everyone does. It is a perfectly legitimate argument to make. You say he is breaking the law, I say fine; so are you, and in a manner that is far more likely to kill someone than skateboarding. I am not expressing opinion, I am expressing fact. Speeding is illegal, and all the evidence points to it being more deadly and far more widespread than skateboarding. Just the facts.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      @Corey: (Sigh) Must I explain rules of logic to you?

      OK, STRAW MAN: To "attack a straw man" is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

      See, just because one crime may be worse than another doesn't negate the validity of the original crime.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kutulhu

    Go to bed, old man.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. EuphoricCrest

    Had he been operating a car illegally, he would have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Since he was operating a skateboard illegally, how is this different?

    July 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goddess Su

      That's not true that a car driver would be charged. A girl here where I live fell asleep at the wheel, ran head on into the opposite lane, to keep from hitting her a semi-truck veered, went off the road, and the driver died. The girl was charged with being asleep at the wheel. That was it. She got points on her license. Period. Accidents are accidents and while tragic, they are accidents. That people have such a blood lust after this boy is simply amazing to me.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      @GS: Accidents occur when neither party bears responsibility. This was no accident as the boy clearly bears responsibility.
      Also, you say the driver would not face charges then cite an example where the guilty party WAS charged ? Sorry, not getting your point. In either case there is prosecutorial discretion but that does not change the law.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Corey

    To all those saying HE BROKE THE LAW...you make me sick. It's a kid, riding a skateboard..enjoying himself, being a kid. He wasn't out gang banging or doing drugs. Just being a kid. It was a horrible tragedy that he will have to live with for the rest of his life but you cannot expect that he should have known something like this could happen. I am quite sure that every single person here who is saying the kid should be punished did something in their youth that COULD have resulted in tragedy, but never would have ever envisioned it happening.

    And as for all the people saying how irresponsible it is for him to be riding on the street, what about all the people who ride their bikes down the road? A bicycle can gain much more speed and do much more damage to a person than a kid on a skateboard. Someone on a bike going at speed could kill a young, healthy person and not someone of advanced age. Yet riding bikes on the road is entirely legal in most states. There is also the increased risk of vehicle accidents from riding bikes on the street, yet again, still legal.

    The laws that are in place to stop people from skateboarding on the street or in public are not there to protect others. They are to protect the skateboarders and children themselves and generally just to keep the whole culture out of sight. So again, stop bringing up the issue with it being against the law. I'm quite sure you speed at least 5mph over the limit each day on the way to work, or when you are just a little bit late. You must be a terrible, horrible, godless person to be so selfish. You could kill someone!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono

      It is still reckless homicide. He goes to jail.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest


      Point 1: Bikes have brakes, hence they are safer than skateboards and allowed on public streets

      Point 2: Your reason for the existence of skateboarding laws is simply factually incorrect

      July 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      Reckless homicide? You don't even know the legal definition of that I am quite sure. You are just spouting words. He might get a fine but he will, rightly, be let go. You want to punish him? How about the fact that he has to live with this? That is more than enough punishment. Please for the love of God think before you judge.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      I would love to see your factual proof that I am wrong about the laws. Please, cite for me all the deaths of old ladies caused by skateboarders. I would love to see your evidence of this apparently malicious group of youths that kill with their skateboards. Again, you have surely driven over the speed limit at some point in your life. That act alone is infinitely more likely to kill someone than a child on a skateboard. Wake up people.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Thank you for saying this. It was a tragedy, for sure, but the kid does not deserve to be charged with anything so severe as manslaughter.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      Take a chill pill and get off that skateboard...you may kill somebody...boy

      July 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotSoSilent Observer

      eldono: in order for it to be reckless homicide he would have had to shown a disregard for foreseeable consequences. The fact that he tried to avoid her, with witnesses makes it hard to believe he acted with disregard. He was not under any influence of drugs or alcohol and he was not behind the wheel of a car. There is no evidence to prove that he was acting reckless prior to the accident. Just becuase he was on a skateboard does not necessarily mean he was being stupid about it.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Judy

      You are a TOTAL idiot. And an ass.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. eldono

    Isn't this considered reckless homicide? He goes to jail. A message needs to be sent.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Slumgullion

    Let's see now – a. Ride a skateboard b. Rob a 7-11 & kill the clerk & maybe a customer or two. Now, what would you rather have your child doing?

    July 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BethG

    Maybe I missed something in the article, but I don't believe it said anywhere in the article that the boy actually even knew it was illegal to skateboard where he did. That aside, it does sound like an accident and that nobody involved will ever be the same. Have some compassion for all involved they deserve it.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • EuphoricCrest

      @BG: Have never heard that ignorance of the law is no excuse?

      July 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
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