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. Kellee831

    Wow, how quick we can be to condemn. My heart and my prayers go out to all involved. I feel sad for the family of the woman, who lost a loved one suddenly in such a random way. My heart aches for the young man, who will surely feel the guilt of this incident his whole life. This is the kind of a event that can steer a young life into a downward spiral of depression and self-medication. He needs the community to uplift him, not castigate and crucify him. The police noted that he was a "clean-cut, honest kid", he stayed with the woman, and we all know that many "adults" would not do the same. This was a terrible accident and I hope the boy receives the support he is going to need to move on from this in a healthy, positive manner.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Couldn't have said it better myself!

      July 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obeythelaw

      Ok – group hug. Are you serious? If he had just obeyed the law the lady would still be alive.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • hogarth

      No, the boy needs to pay the price for committing a crime, just as a drunk driver would if HE had plowed into the woman. Both were breaking the law, and by doing so, they killed people. Why does one get off and the other not?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bilbo

      Clean cut..ha ha..good one..so keep your hair short and you get a longer leash. How OLD was the cop they got THAT quote from 83+?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Thrash

    Wow, I guess skateboarding is a crime.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmsbl4

      RE-read paragraph 7.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Punkass

    The truck driver stopped to let her pass which tells me that she wasnt actually supposed to be crossing. A complete tragedy but lets not villify this teen. I ran over an old lady inside the market after I turned a corner quickly. She was standing in a bad stop, couldnt move fast and I literally walked over her. I felt bad but it wasnt entirely my fault and she admitted as much. Of course I stayed with her until she assured me she was ok but still, situation sucks. I have never been even remotely involved in an accident with a skateboader and they are everywhere. Skateboadering is not a crime!!

    July 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tibs

      "Slettehaugh was in a crosswalk "

      did you stop reading the article after the 3rd sentence?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmsbl4

      Goodhandle. What do you not understand about the 4th paragraph?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • BullpupT

      You need to have your driving privileges removed for life. You don't get it. You don't know why he broke the law? For his own pleasure and because he didn't believe there would be any consequence. The same reasons that you didn't bother using caution rounding a blind curve. Manslaughter IS a crime you ignorant reckless moron. Stay of the roads.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CozKaren

      Punkass you must be true to your handle. In general, pedestrians have the right of way especially in CA.

      July 8, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      You literally ran over an elderly woman in the market and have the audacity to blame HER for being in a "bad spot" and being too slow?! Then you allowed her to take the blame? Wow, what a gentleman! Guess we need laws against these frail old people who can't move fast enough to get out of your way. What a sad human specimen you are!

      July 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tiffany

    @ Curious, you say that the kid must pay for what he did well how do you know that he wont receive community service obligations in the future. And saying that kids have no common sense these days is a little harsh. This is what always happens when something happens and a teen is involved people always go after the teen first. True someone died and its terrible that, that woman had to pay the ultimate price. This guy was a clean cut kid who made a mistake there are people out there who have done far worse. Lets call this what it is an accident plain and simple.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bumpkin

      Wow! Let's see if you give a lawbreaker a pass when they wantonly kill someone you love.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      Bumpkin... let's see how harsh you are to judge when it's your own kid...

      July 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No.profit.4. Anthony

    Ha ha ha thanks for the smile. i'm sure he planned the whole thing. 🙂

    July 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. saray

    It is wrong that the old lady died but he wasnt like he was out tog et her. i do have to think if it was my grandma i would be mad. no body knows the situation until they are in it. so he did wrong by not thinking "its not ok to go down a steap hill on a skateboard if i am unsure that i can control it"

    July 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Wrawn

    This is very simple. The skateboarder failed to yield to a pedestrian IN A CROSSWALK, and caused her death, and through that negligence the skateboarder should be charged with Negligent Manslaughter. The only thing the skateboarder did to save further charges against themselves was to stay with the victim. Leaving the seen of a crime, would have made matters worse. Now, the question remains, will the Prosecutor discover the skatebaorder's mother said she was responsible for Googling the words "RAMMING OLD PEOPLE WHILE SKATEBOARDING" on their home computer.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. david davidson

    ...But was the kids skateboard ok?

    July 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • MotoJB

      Gee, you're a funny guy...NOT. M***N.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casey Bad Mommy

      HAHAJAHA....Kid tested, Mother Approved.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It's not about this accident and what crime it might be.
    The behavior of many teenagers in public has become so out-of-control over the past fifty years that this skateboarder could be viewed as an unwitting product of his sociological matrix.
    Nobody taught him how to prevent killing old ladies.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bumpkin

    Should be reckless manslaughter, tried as a minor.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • xXRationalXx

      haha for skateboarding?!! this is ridiculous

      July 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HRH banasy

    I didn't write the post @1:39.
    Of course I don't think the *husband* should be charged with anything.
    Police are investigating.
    Let them investigate.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Melissa

    Wow – it was an accident, people. Put away the nooses, will you?

    July 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • puddintame

      Never! He should fry! She was only 83! She had so much more life to live!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MotoJB

    SAD...RIP. If no skateboarding signs were posted and obvious, he needs to be tried for involuntary manslaughter.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • xXRationalXx

      this kids doing what thousands of other kids do daily, ride skateboards and break city odanances and a freak coincidence happened and he hit an old lady and she was killed in a freak accident. you're gonna ruin this kids life for something so stupid and random?! it was an accident just as if a car hit her. except it was a young kid doing what young kids do.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @xxrationalXX.. yeah.. why should this kids life be ruined? Why inconvenience him at all? He just KILLED ANOTHER PERSON while breakking the law. No biggie.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bilbo

      So....rationally it's OK to break the law if enough people do it and get away with it and if you happen to be the unlucky one the law catches up with well then it's just a tragic accident right? So what some 83yo old woman dies right? A 17yo kid is worth more right? This is why the law has things like involuntary manslaughter. For people who kill someone else as an unintended consequence of their illegal actions.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. american citizen

    I am not sure what to think on this one. Some people have brought up interesting points on this blog. However, if you noticed the article isn't broken up in paragraphs it's in sentences? I think the problem is that people are breaking the laws pretty often here in the US. Some of those situations have consequences while others don't. This boy broke the law and for what reason I know not. Was it a dare? Showing off? The problem is he actually killed someone due to injuries he inflicted on them. If a person driving a car strikes a person in the cross walk when the pedestrian has the right of way is it manslaughter? I am just asking? I don't see a win win situation here.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SophieCat

    Perhaps it was just 'tragic, freak accident' but it's still the young skateboarder's responsibility to face up to his actions, and his actions led to the death of this woman. Yes, it's admirable that he didn't run away. It's admirable that he stayed with her to help her. And OK, it wasn't intentional – but it's STILL a LIFE. And he has to accept responsibility for that.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Gaddis

      He will, each and every day he thinks about it. Every time someone talks about it within ear shot. All of his life he will have to not only remember, but know that it was his childish act of getting on a skate board and riding it down that road which cost this woman her life.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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