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. Demitrius P

    This poor boy had absolutely no malicious intent and now, for him, life will never be the same – he must be wracked with guilt beyond what you can imagine. My thoughts and prayers out to both the woman and her family and the boy and his.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amy Dover

    Eldono-Your right a message does need to be sent, so here it is-START TAKING YOUR MEDS AGAIN!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SSampson

    It was just a matter if time – Sidewalks are for walking – I am tired of skateboarders, cyclists and rollerbladers who aren't in control zooming around on sidewalks – and rollerbladers and skateboards should be off the roads too (bicycles are fine on the road – when they follow the basic rules and use common sense... and drivers do the same in regard to bicycles)

    I have been bumped on more than one occasion by these things on sidewalks – I lean into them now !!! I will continue to do that until I am too old !!! – for now – lean in – put them on their A**ES and make them bleed –

    If we ticketed these people for all of the various volations they incur, we could pay down the debt in a few years !!!

    July 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotSoSilent Observer

      this happened in an intersection not the sidewalk, did you even read the article before you commented? The woman was crossing the street.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    In California, it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk. The bike is considered a vehicle and has to follow the same laws as a car.


    It is tragic that the death occurred and would be more tragic for the young man to be "locked up" for this. Should he face consequences? Yes–one appropriate to the laws on the books. Will he face a consequence? Yes–he'll have to live with the fact that he killed someone and this will likely haunt him for the rest of his life.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • FaolRua

      It is illegal, but the reality is that cyclists DO ride on the sidewalk (not to mention through stop signs, in crosswalks and against traffic) and are virtually never cited.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. KH

    Common law murder (substantially the same by statute)- Causal killing of another human being with malice aforethought.

    Malice: (1) intent to kill; (2) intent to cause severe bodily harm; (3) Extreme reckless disregard for human life (example- firing a gun in the general direction of a crowd–not riding a skateboard down a hill); (4) felony murder (someone dies during the commission of a dangerous felony)

    Disclaimer- this is not intended as legal advice. If you have caused the death of another human being please seek the advice of an attorney barred in your state

    July 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Athgeos

    this story makes me want to play, Skate or Die 2

    July 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LMNOP

    I used to play the Nintendo game "Skate or Die" when I was a kid, but I don't remember there being any octogenarians in the game.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jumper

    So, if he had long hair he would have been guilty, and not honest.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ArizonaYankee

    Another out of control skateboarding axxhole. These people don't belong anywhere near roads and public places. Although this did happen in Mexifornia, where 3 or 4 people understand right from wrong.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. You people are terrible

    I doubt the kid had any malicious intent. Why all the bloodlust for vengeance? He has to bear the guilt of what happened, even if that's not fair. This is already a tragedy. What's the purpose of imprisoning somebody who was likely not breaking any laws or intending to hurt anyone?

    What a sad commentary of our society that when people hear about something like this, they want the kid who was skateboarding to be killed or locked away. Step back and think about your lives

    July 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • cjm71

      i 100 percent agreewith you. It sounds ike this kid was skateboarding in the street and not on the sidewalk. It is just as if this was an accident with a bike or other vehicle. The woman stepped out from behind a truck, and there was a blind spot and an very unfrotunate accident. It alos sounds like the kid was very disturbed and is also suffering and will continue to suffer. This could be your or my kid, have some compasion.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mizsherle

      You are absurd. Did you not read the article? He was breaking the law. SKATEBOARDING IS PROHIBITED WHERE HE STRUCK AND KILLED THE WOMAN. Sure, he probably didn't have "malicious" intent. He was just breaking the law, because he didn't want anything stopping him from doing what he felt like doing.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruce Heinemann

      the issue isn't malicious intent.... as all the skateboarders like to say on bumper stickers: "Skateboarding is not a Crime" that is until you lose control and kill somebody.... do grow up!!!!!

      July 8, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Hughes

      Between 2002 and 2010 there were 16,000 deaths resulting from texting while driving. Wonder how many of those people were teenagers from good families. They just wanted to do what they wanted to do. Skateboarding on the street is a violation of an ordanance, not a law. Essentially, the same as not leaving your trash in the right bin, recycling, or leaving your dog outside too long. It is more illegal to not put money in the meter than it is to skateboard on the street. But I wonder how many of you with teenagers would insist that your son or daughter spend 10 years in prison for texting while driving (which is actually against the law) or do hard time when they get into a fender bender (also against the law). How many of you think that killing a person because you were distracted by something in car like the radio, noisy kids, or putting your coffee in the cupholder is worthy of 10 years in prison or the death penalty? Because every year 5500 people die that way. 42 people die in skateboard related incidents every year; and most of those are the skateboarder. Freak accidents happen when people are doing dumb things and sometimes people die. Personally, I think that the kid was clearly negligent for being where he wasnt supposed to be on his skateboard. But I also think that if this person wasnt a skateboarder, if he was, say, a teenage white girl who is a straight A church goer who accidently hit this woman with her car when she stepped from behind a truck (probably going faster than 15mph), no one here would be calling for her to be put to death. Those same people calling for harsh punishment would probably be saying how sad they feel for her that she has to live with that for the rest of her life and asking how her couseling is going. I think that it is double standard that people on the "fringe" of societal acceptance would be looked at more hashly when most deaths are caused by the negligence found in the "mainstream."

      July 8, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan123

      To Jeff Hughes:

      Well said brother!!!!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • DummyDeather

      @Jeff Hughes:
      Have my Babies please. We will teach them to skateboard

      July 8, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. L8tr sk8r

    Dudes, like she escaped death once, but when it's time for your skateboard of fate, there's no escape. l8tr days.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sporty64

    Make him get a tat of the face of the woman and add a line under it stating ...regrets.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jack

    obviously you do not understand skateboarding, it is a great healthy outlet for people of all ages. It is an outlet of self expression like playing music or painting. It should not be illegal to skateboard in a street, some people use them for transportation and not just fun you are ignorant and uninformed

    July 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not really

      Not really. If I saw anyone over 25 skateboarding, I'd really have to struggle not to push them off. And bikes are used for transportation, there's no reason to use a skateboard other than to impress womenz.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • vonspoo

      and if it's a chick on the board? what moronic bravado do you bring to the party then?

      July 8, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Crysco

      Shut up. Just shut up. People hate on skateboarders so much out there and don't know what the culture is like. I am a 21 year old skateboarder who is about to graduate college with a degree in Civil engineering and I am damn proud of both.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • rob

      Time to put the toys away before you hurt an innocent pedestrian.

      July 8, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
    • JamesonWhiski

      Haha, are you kidding? Anyonw over 25 cannot impress womenz with skateboards!

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

      You have simplified the act, like saying painting is just putting colour on unrefined cloth with a stick that has pig hairs at the tip.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • RXW

      You sound more immature than most skateboarders. I personally do not skateboard, and I think they can be somewhat irritating whizzing by you, but I would never consider pushing someone off of one. That is childish and absolutely inexcusable...you have zero business saying 'if you saw someone over 25...you would have trouble not pushing them off' ... it makes you seem more immature than a 25+ year old riding a skateboard.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikel

      It's a board with roller skate wheels that you push to get moving. Get over the self-absorbed nonsense about it be being a form of self-expression or art like a painter or sculptor.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ripley1977

    It was an unfortunate accident, but skateboards do not have speedometers so who is to say exactly how fast he was going.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • GTA

      "It was an unfortunate accident, but skateboards do not have speedometers so who is to say exactly how fast he was going."

      Fast enough to kill someone.....

      July 8, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brian

    Some of these skate boarders will race straight at you just so they can watch you jump out of their way.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |

      its easy to fix that, just clothesline em like wrestlers(the fake ones) do. its all about the physics, speed+velocity=faceplant

      July 8, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
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