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. Guest

    Terrible accident. I don't skateboard but I hope this doesn't trigger any new laws against it – just a freak accident that is extremely rare. I can recall a lot more incidents of elders in cars running over people, than skateboarders running over elders. I really feel for that husband, tough to go on I imagine.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. V. P.

    Didn't the article mention that skateboarding was prohibited in that area? Someone needs to be punished, teems now days don't have much respect for laws or rules. Now a lady has lost her life! Let's stop excusing bad behavior please.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • T

      What do you want the death penalty, he was cited for being wrong

      July 8, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      If you read the article he is being fined for skateboarding at that location.

      July 8, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      If I was speeding or failed to stop and hurt or kill someone, I'm pretty sure I would get more than just a speeding ticket regardless of whether or not I intended to actually hurt anyone.

      I would charge him with involuntary manslaughter and give him the minimum applicable sentence.

      July 8, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • scruffy

      teens? neither do adults. texting while driving all the time in my city...and it is illegal here. i'm a runner and i can't tell you how many people are texting and looking down instead of at the road. ugh. it's everywhere - not just teens. i see adults doing stuff that "isn't legal" daily. if you are one of the few that don't text while driving, then i sincerely applaud you.

      this was an accident - i don't care whether he could skateboard there or not - they fined him, fine. you can't really skateboard too many places these days anyway. let him be. it was a tragic event. very sad all around.

      July 8, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Quincey9

    Ummm....need therapy?

    July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bubba

    Man, are you twelve years old or something? I rode a bike everywhere until I could drive, and I fell over a couple of times but never ran down a pedestrian. I had a close call with a car once, but never with people. It's cool that you fantasize about old people being reckless idiots on bikes with cards in the spokes, but, um, oh wait. It actually is kinda creepy that you fantasize about old people.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. FoolKiller

    Adrenaline? That's what matters to you? You sound like one of those thrill junkies that falls off a cliff and gets one or more volunteers killed saving him... then says, hey, it's their job. Moron.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. mk241

    older the juice.... at least its legal 😉

    July 8, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Freshies

    "It was not a malicious type of act. He seemed like a pretty clean-cut and honest kid."

    So if he had long hair and a few tatoos he should be thrown in jail?

    July 8, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. alxisc

    Dude, I don't think this article says anything against skateboarding. What's with the hate. An old lady, that is probably someones mother and grandmother, died from an unfortunate accident. Chill out. No one here is against skateboarding.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. otherside

    And how many skateboarders\bikers have been hit by old ladies\men driving? You won't see that on the news.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    Come on, you can't know that. For one thing, that's just a baseless assumption and another, he jumped off the board to avoid her. It was his fault, but he's just a kid and he is probably horrified right now at what he inadvertently did.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. mk241

    Dude-
    just continue reading through all of these posts from people saying every skateboard is a punk and skateboarders should all be put in jail. not just making this stuff up. 95% of these comments are about how disruptive skateboarders are and how they pose a threat to every american who isnt on a skateboard.

    July 8, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. mk241

    oh yeah skateboarding/snowboarding/wakeboarding extreme sports, any sports for that matter provide athletes with adrenaline. good call on adrenaline only coming from idiots jumping off buildings/cliffs. and if the people died saving them then it looks like they shouldnt have taken on the role to do such... just saying. you dont really see than many on-lookers of someone drowning jumping in to save them if they cant swim..

    July 8, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. YOS27X

    Post of the week!

    July 8, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. mk241

    if your not living on the edge, your taking up too much room!

    July 8, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. JHRIII

    This was simply an isolated incident that got media coverage so to put people's panties in a wad. Regardless of it being illegal or not, to ride a sketeboard where he was, things like this happen. It was an accident. I do think skate boards are dangerous given they have no brakes, and its the operator's responsibility to control the skateboard at all times, so there may very well be charges involved. Regardless of being in a "sue happy" country, nobody wins in this situation.

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