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. Briggs

    It was an accident, and elderly person being struck by another person walking could have caused the same injuries, then walking would be prohibited as well? There was no malicious intent, it was an accident, keep in mind that more people die from car accidents than from "freak" accidents like this. Mourn this ladys death as it should be, Hope this kid is also well and his life is not ruined by manslaughter or even murder but he should compensate the ladys husband and make him pay for the funeral arrangements. Don't blame the act of Skating with the reason for this death, sooner or later they will make even looking at other people against the law, live without hurting other people or damaging anything, that is the real law of the land.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • JMM

      So....if I was driving 70mph down a residential street & a little girl ran out and I hit her and killed her, you would consider that an "accident"? I certainly didn't mean to do it and I had no "malicious intent".

      Nonetheless, incidents like this are due to reckless, thoughtless, irresponsible behavior. He was skating where it was illegal and where a woman in a crosswalk shouldn't have to be concerned about getting hit by a skater, because there shouldn't be any skaters there. He was going 20mph downhill and should have realized that he had less control of the board at that point and wouldn't be able to stop quickly. "Accident"? Sorry...maybe "accident waiting to happen".

      July 8, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Doctor Sad

    Skateboarders need rules of the road too. Going down a hill at that speed on a road where cars need a license to drive. It's just wrong and there should be some sort of law put in place.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. El Kababa

    Manslaughter is probably the appropriate charge. A couple of years in the slammer is probably the appropriate punishment.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. OldHat

    Law says no skateboarding in that area. Kid was skateboarding where it wss specifically prohibited by law. As a result of his violating the law, the woman was killed. Sounds like two crimes to me.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Laura Bush

    Laura Bush killed a man in an act of negligence. If this kid has to do time, I demand she also be brought to justice.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Laura Bush

    Laura Bush killled a man in an act of negligence.

    July 8, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Draconis

      He will never skateboard again.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. dogs rule

    The jerk killed someone. Let the punishment fit the crime, and lets get some of these rotten kids off the streets. If school were in session all year – just like jobs in real life – that poor woman would be alive today. Kids are bored out of their gourds and just spend summers causing mayhem everywhere they go!

    July 8, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      grow up

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

      It was an accident jerk.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • JustRelax

      The kid didn't flee the scene... it was an accident... maybe avoidable, but nothing more than an accident. What should they do? Lock up this kid with thugs in prison? He will have to live for this for the rest of his life. That pain alone I can almost assure you is enough. Kids will be kids and this is really unfortunate. I feel bad for both families in this case.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Pinolera

      It was an accident! It could have happened to anyone. This 17 year old is just that, still a kid that exercised poor judgement. It is sad what happened and he will have to live with what happened for the rest of his life. His life will go on but she will never leave his memory I am sure.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      You mean when school was year round when you were a kid? Dolt.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • vtguy

      May have been an accident, like all accidents... some are manslaughter, just like this.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      Skateboarding is an amazing sport. Kids who skateboard are getting out and exercising which is probably more than we can say for you.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • gggg

      you should jump off somthing very high..

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

      somebody needs to put something big and thick in their a$$ and then maybe they will feel better and less angry.

      i have a feeling you weren't well liked as a teenager, given your disdain for youth in general.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      Yeah, he should have stayed inside playing video games and mastubating to the internet.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mikel

    If you ever wonder about how self-absorbed the kids coming out of public schools, just read the comments from them on this article.

    July 8, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      what an idiotic post.....and i love how you add "public school" ....If your family cant afford private school you must be punk! what a joke

      July 8, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jacquelyne

    He will be living with the fact that he killed someone the rest of his life...that is a good thing

    July 8, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Christopher H.

    After years of seeing those mothers driving around with "Skate boarding is not a crime!" bumper stickers it turns out it really is.

    July 8, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. dk

    I'm 58 years old. Everyone of you old dinosaurs sounds just like my old redneck grandfather and father. You all are the kids they used to say the same things about.

    July 8, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Derek

    Everyone saying this kid should be locked up would be singing a different tune if they had an ACCIDENT that killed someone....accidents happen...prisons are crowded enough and costs the tax payers a lot of money....but yea lets send a kid who had an accident to prison...the lack of common sense on the CNN boards is astounding...i expect it on most message boards but you would think on one talking about the news the intelligence level would be higher....community service, probation, fines....all a better alternative then prison in this case....get real people

    July 8, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Pinolera

      Thank you! Finally someone with sense.

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


      July 8, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. endisnear

    And we use to laugh at Barney fife, because we thought he was being ridiculous

    July 8, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Have some sense

    This was an ACCIDENT. Plain and simple. It is tragic but it happens. It should not be a crime. Everyone is up in arms because it's a kid on a skateboard...well guess what, she was crossing the bike lane and it could have easily been a middle aged man in spandex riding his bicycle that could have hit her. What do you think moves faster? A skateboard or a bicycle?

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

      But bikes do have brakes!

      July 8, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Basil999

      Jean–Brakes schmakes...try stopping a bicycle going downhill about 25 mph. Ain't gonna happen.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan123

      Good point, a middle aged man in Spandex might have given her a heart attack.

      July 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Janet

    aww bless this woman and her family and the kid that did it! Accidents happen, he tried to avoid her AND he stayed with her, so good for him.
    very sad.

    July 8, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
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