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. Patiat

    Passing a panel truck is illegal? Riding a skateboard down a hill is illegal? I can just see it: City Ordinance 854§3.56: it shall be a misdemeanor to pilot, navigate or otherwise operate in a forward or backward motion down a hill, embankment, or grade of an incline greater than 3%, any flat board equipped with four wheels.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. VegasRage

    Considering what the 12 idiot jurors in Florida just did, I think we can cut him some slack, he was more thoughtful than Casey was for her own daughter and she walked. Just saying.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Evidence??

      Want some cheese with that whine? The jury returned the only verdict they could based on the flimsy evidence presented. Next time, prosecute someone only when you have enough EVIDENCE. Doh!

      July 8, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Wrong topic. Did you get lost?
      And if you (and so many here) would just use the REPLY feature, you would then be addressing someone and your post wouldn't be so out of place.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      To get more about a story I check other sites with a Bing search. LA Times reports he whent thru a stop sign. Then I found a really sad Bing video with George Slettehaugh. They were sweethearts since junior high; married after WWII; and married 64 years. At the end he says, "I'm all alone." Her grandson, also a skateboarder was also interviewed. He said he'd fall down before hitting some one but he knows it's impossible to stop.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Fox Mulder

    Skate or Die!

    July 8, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • DebGa

      This was skate AND die - an innocent woman died because someone chose to ignore the NO skating law.
      Time to grow up, FM.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Maybe Fox doesn't have any grandparents, so he isn't able to connect with the idea of losing one of them to such a senseless accident. Most likely this woman has grandchildren who are crying today.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. VegasRage

    BTW webhoncho, you sure you didn't misspell your username? Seems to me it should read webonaso.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Arron hipster

    Its too bad there is no video.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. dave

    So much hate. First the kid who KILL the old women should be tried for the Murder. He used bad judgement and now must face the consequences. Skateboarders are just people trying to have fun, yes some use little sense skating. But this kid is not the whole group of skaters, just one individual who through his actions took a life. Let him and him alone stand for what he did.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • readb4talk

      "Bad judgment" does not even come close to fitting the legal definition of murder. Negligent homicide, maybe, but even that is a bit of a stretch. This matter is a civil, not a criminal, matter..

      July 8, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Reno

      Yes, lets stick him in jail for being the child he is.

      KIds do things without thinking about the consequence. It's a hallmark of all children. The consequences part of your brain doesn't develop until the early twenties.

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


      July 8, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Julia

      Yes, fair or not, one in the group of many can and does give others a bad reputation.
      This 17 yr old can hardly be considered a kid any longer. I was 17 when I graduated from high school. Most likely there will be charges of some degree brought against him. The outcome will depend on things like: if they decide to try him as an adult and if he's had any prior run-ins with the law. Staying with Mrs. Slettehaugh after the accident, instead of running off, shows a sense of remorse and maturity. This should be beneficial when it comes to deciding any charges against him.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • no name

      So all of you are assuming this article is accurrate and correrct without checking the facts?

      1. There are no, no skateboarding signs in Capitola, accept at the bandstand area.
      2. Local codes state you can't skateboard on the sidewalks or curbs, and capitola police only issue verbal warnings. as well as telling the kids they an skate in the street, but not the sidewalks.
      3. There is not one iota of an indication in capitola that skateboarding is illegal.
      4. Traffic in Capitola can be stopped from the top of the hill all over capitola village, and to assume the truck was stopped strictly for a pedestrian is incorrect. The truck was stopped in TRAFFIC, not at a stop sign...etc.

      Get off your sanctimonious high horse...this could have happened to any one, including a mother with a jogger stroller....
      it's just bad timing....Has nothing to do with skateboardin

      July 15, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. 99indinf

    Give me a break the kid was skateboarding not out committing some violent crime. It was an accident a tragic accident that I am sure the kid will feel remorse for the rest of his life.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Arron hipster

    I think it would have been nice to see some video before judging.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. hendeeze

    . What would putting this kid in jail accomplish? Did he do something irresponsible, yes. Should he be punished in some way, yes. But putting him in jail? There was no malice. Its a stupid 17 y/o who was trying to have some fun. It just so happened the outcome was tragic. Putting him in jail is not going to stop the next kid who tries to skateboard in Capitola, nor is it going to bring this woman back. This person unintentionally killed someone, Considering he stuck with her after the ACCIDENT shows that he isnt a uncompassionate hoodlum, the result of his action is punishment enough. He should be forced to do community service speaking to students about the dangers of skateboarding and the like, Not put in freakin jail. You know what happens when you put non violent offenders in jail? Hey guess what they get violent!!! amazing I know. (he is considered a non violent offender because there was no premeditation, it was an accident. preventable yes, but accident nonetheless.)
    I'm no skateboarder, I actually grew up in an era of BMX and we despised skateboarders. But the lady who blankets assumptions about people because of a plank of wood with some wheels on it? LOL man you are an accurate representation of what is wrong with society today.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      I don't know. I tend to think that if you do something irresponsible that results in someone's death...there should be some sort of consequence. Someone is dead because of his actions. You can't just blow that off. I don't know what the punishment should be but there should be punishment.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shawn

    Tragic. The kid was being irresponsible, but not to a degree that he should be held liable for what he did. At least not anything past misdemeanor. He is going to live with that for the rest of his life.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Crossing

      But he broke a law, and he knew he was breaking a law, and he intentionally rode his skateboard where it was illegal to do so. Sorry, no pity here.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Arron hipster

    I bet she went left and he went right.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Musicdorian

    Patiat, traveling on anything that is moving, like a bicycle or a skateboard, or a car or motorcyle, means that when you see a situation (like a stopped panel truck) that could possibly be dangerous, you slow down. It is irresponsible to go barrelling into an area when things just don't look right, and you can't see what is up ahead. It hope that this kid learns this before he becomes one of the many moronic drivers who don't anticipate problems ahead, and whiz passed things that are warning them to slow down.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. ridonkulous

    These comments are unbelievable. Fear/Hate mongering towards Skateboarding? What year is this?? Grow up people. Old lady, crosswalk, Skateboarding 17 year old. Accident. Not manslaughter or murder or any crazy stuff like that.

    You people need a reality check.

    July 8, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Crossing

      No – fear/hate mongering towards stupidity and irresponsibility. Some skateboarders are smart and responsible and do not ride in areas that are not intended for it, and do not ride down hills that pedestrians are known to cross.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. james

    The punk needs to be tried for vehicle homicide, he needs to learn you cant do what ever he want and, their are laws in place to where you can use a skateboard and where you cant for a reason.

    July 8, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. james

    Thank you

    July 8, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
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