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. rslettehaugh

    Giver...you are a jerk. Skateboarders and Cyclist on the sidewalk are always causing trouble for pedestrians. This skateboarder should be cited as some type of road hazard. He was on a moving vehicle in the street and he killed a pedestrian. This is a grave situation. The skateboarder should be cited for every law he was breaking. I have never seen Capitola police enforce the skateboard law or the law of cyclists on the sidewalk. I have filed several complaints when I lived in Capitola and as you can see nothing was done about it and now one of the finest elderly ladies in Capitola has been run down and killed by a skateboarder. The skateboarder should be held accountable for his actions and stupidity. Throw the book at him!!!

    July 9, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. rslettehaugh

    Skateboarders and Cyclist on the sidewalk are always causing trouble for pedestrians. This skateboarder should be cited as some type of road hazard. He was on a moving vehicle in the street and he killed a pedestrian. This is a grave situation. The skateboarder should be cited for every law he was breaking. I have never seen Capitola police enforce the skateboard law or the law of cyclists on the sidewalk. I have filed several complaints when I lived in Capitola and as you can see nothing was done about it and now one of the finest elderly ladies in Capitola has been run down and killed by a skateboarder. The skateboarder should be held accountable for his actions and stupidity.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. lam

    I know you guys are mad but saying bad things about skateboarding is not going to make the situation better. It's a little immature i must say. Saying any bad thing you can about the kid is definitely not right. Say anything you like to me but it wont make you look better

    July 9, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Colin Narod

    I'm amazed people are taking a stab at skateboarding based on this accident.

    Do they not think this has happened before, except with a biker? The woman came out of nowhere, since the stopped truck was blocking the vision. It could've been you that hit her with a car. The only blame to be placed is on the person who rammed in to the woman, not the mode of transportation.

    I've had intentional attempts at tripping me off my board. I've seen strangers think they have the right to step in the way of a skateboarder attempting an obstacle. I don't blame "all pedestrians" for something like that. Just the crazies.

    It seems like those blaming skateboarding are few and far between, I'm glad to see common sense prevail.

    Still feel horrible for all parties involved.

    July 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Somedude

      Duh listen folks. It was against the law for the kid to be skateboarding down the hill and the law was put into effect for a reason. It was actually a long-time friend of mine's mother that got killed. Sad situation.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Old people shouldn't be let out alone. They are a danger to the public on the sidewalks, roadways and any other fast moving traffic area they STROLL THROUGH!
      I blame the 80 year old who should have know better with all that wisdom to have not crossed when she did or at least to look both ways. Perhaps she was not all there? After all she was 80 something.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • improv

      What a tragic accident. The kid shouldn't have been skateboarding there, but that's really all he did wrong. It's just terribly unfortunate and tragic that the truck was exactly where it was, when it was and that the lady happened to be crossing the street right then and got hit exactly wrong such that she died. I feel bad for her family, but also for the poor kid, he's going to have to live with this now for the rest of his life.

      July 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • improv

      Also, @Brett- you're a moron. The article says that the truck was blocking her view. She never could have seen it coming. So maybe pack up your ignorance and go troll somewhere else.

      July 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • logikflux

      Most skaters will do absolutely everything necessary to avoid a person. This could very well have been a biker, jogger, in-line skater, hover round or someone else hitting her. The traffic blocked both of their vision. I almost took out two drunk homeless men jaywalking at night time once b/c a vehicle blocked my vision, and they come came out of nowhere. Tragic accident, cite him for skateboarding where he wasn't supposed to, but anything else is too far.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cgrace

    This was a horrible accident, and clearly the city needs to place signs on streets with steep hills that state "no skateboarding"......Believe it or not kids do actually pay attention when there are signs. In addition, to place blame solely on this kid or the skateboarding society is ridiculous. We just need to teach kids and others to be more responsible. Also if the family can get passed this then who are we to judge this situation, or to speak of it as though it is an epidemic.

    July 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      no they do not pay attention to signs

      July 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Skateboarding is not a crime. Get your car off the street. Your vehicle is more dangerous than a kid on a skateboard, not to mention pollutes the air we all breath takes up to much space and is a waste of natural resources.

      Try walking? I know more than 50% of Americans could stand to lose a good 100+ lbs. Perhaps you should all skateboard and lose weight.

      July 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Redrum

    The accompanying article states that, "Skateboarding in Capitola Village is illegal." So it is wasn't just some unavoidable accident. Not all skateboarders are bad, but people need to understand that there's a reason that skateboarding's not allowed in some places, and it's not just to spoil people's fun.

    July 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    I was actually in Canada the other day and I happened to witness some kid do the exact same thing, except he side swiped a railing. Everyone gasped at the same time. Skaters need to be more cautious, or not skate down hills where theres bound to be other civilians mulling about. That always works too.

    July 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Margroks

    I've seen many skateboards ignore plainly posted signs in our downtown area prohibiting skateboarding due to the danger to pedestrians AND the damage to public property they cause on curbs and walls. I've seen many adults on skateboards here on campus riding down hills at high speeds and zigzagging back and forth, usually without helmets or any protective gear which is another really stupid thing to do. Too many skateboarders and bikers here don't pay attention and don't obey the rules. They have the idea that everything in the world is all for them and they don't care about anyone else or any property they may damage.

    Bottom line is that this kid was riding in a forbidden zone and wouldn't have caused a fatal accident if he had been obeying the rules. He should be charged with more than what he was.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      How many No parking or no stopping signs do you ignore? I think those no skateboarding signs are a waste of tax payers money. You can't tell me where to travel nor will I listen when you do. You city government makes a mint off people ignoring those signs. Do you actually think kids are going to care, cause as an adult, I don't!

      July 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ranch

    •There were more than 5.5 million car accidents in the United States. Nearly 31,000 were fatal, and more than 2 million people were injured.

    Lets not forget these things happen everyday. Water under the bridge imo, move on.

    July 14, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Patrick Shore

    After reading a few pages of comments I was reassured as to how ignorant and close minded americans are today. So many people jumping to conclusions about this kid calling him "a drop out," "punk," thug," etc. when he obiviously exemplified nothing of that nature. So many of you need to open your minds and realize that skateboarding is by no means a harmful or judicious act. Just because you skateboard dosnt mean you dont go to school, how rediculous is that? What else angers me is people make such strong opinions in this article and then use a ficticious name to post them under. If you can make strong enough opinions you can at the very least reveal who you are.
    While many of you believe that skateboarding is a crime, in reality its a very healthy outlet for kids, and adults. I can not tell you how many people over the years I have seen saved from gangs or drugs or even alchol al because of skateboarding. Heres a generalization that I can drop... while your perfect preppy football players and cheerleaders where at house parties doing coke and heroine and getting drunk, I was out with my friends skateboarding having fun and staying sober.
    We cannot condem this kid for this accident, that would be insane, as far as I can conclude his vision was blocked by the truck, I will recognize that this kid should know how to powerslide ( essentially braking on a skateboard) before bombing ( going down) such a big hill. However, all in all when it comes down to it it was still just an accident. Imagine If you and your wife were on rollerblades or a bike and hit this lady, ill tell you this much, it wouldnt even be on cnn.
    People think that since we don't ride with helmets or other protective gear we are insane and have no care for ourselves, what they dont realize is after skating for many years we learn how to fall in manners that dont injure ourselves, some professionals, using the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars they get per year even resort to professional tumbling classes to fall in any cituation. What I laugh at is hearing somebody hurt themselves walking up stairs in their own house or tripping over a crack, or better yet rolling your ankle while simply walking. I can eaisly tell you that I have not hurt myself in any of those ways in years.
    One day people will open their minds and realize skateboarding is a form of self expression that does not do halmful damage or malice, the marks on the walls or ledges can be washed off its simply moving the dirt that your feet or car put on the ground onto the walls or ledges. People dont take a step back and look at things from other perspectives because their too busy hiding on their computer behind their ficticious names.

    July 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spydyee

      Skateboarding in general is not a crime. Skateboarding where he was is a crime. the concept here is really simple. If he had been a drunk driver and killed someone he would be charged with vehicular homicide in most states. If he was an unlicensed driver he would have been charged with manslaughter in most states because he was not supposed to on the road driving a car. He was not supposed to be skateboarding down that hill because there was a law against it. there was a law against it because it is dangerous and pedestrians could get hurt. He broke the law and killed someone. If there had been a law against jogging down the hill and he was jogging down the hill and crashed into her causing her death then he would be just as wrong. It is not about the culture of skateboarding, it is about the law and his blatant disregard for the law. Brett has expressed the very mentality that I am talking about and he is an adult. If this child is not taught that he cannot break the law and cause harm to another individual without there being serious consequences then society is creating a person like Brett who has no respect for the laws of our communities. people like that do whatever they want no matter who gets hurt until the law stops them but that is usually after someone dies. So if we do not stop this kid now how many other people have to die because of his blatant disregard for the law before we do? I have said this in both of my other posts but will repeat it here to. he needs to be charged as a juvenile for her death and offered a 2 year plea deal that has him take a class on the care needs of the elderly like the Certified Nurse Aide courses that most community college continuing ed programs offer, then he needs to be made to do community service in local nursing homes so he learns how frail the elderly can be first hand, and then during the last year of the deal he needs to be made to go to various schools and speak to young people about what he has learned and openly acknowledge to them that because he broke the law a person died. After he has completed the conditions of the plea deal then expunge the conviction from his record and leave him to his newly developed conscience.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Horst

    Skateboarding IS a crime!

    July 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mom

    This was not intentional. It was a horrible mistake. This seventeen year old is a child and should be forgiven so that he can grow up to be a productive citizen rather than torn down for the sake of revenge. My eleven year old brother was killed in an accident ... my family did not seek revenge, but forgave.

    July 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Twexiarar

    купим под склад комплектующие

    ICQ 177-211-010
    tel: +38 (063) 407-15-54

    July 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. skateboarder

    I have been skateboarding for 10 years, and I am going to Columbia with a full scholarship, so there is no need to call all skateboarders idiots. I'm sure that the kid feels absolutely terrible, he will forever have to live with the guilt of taking another human beings life. This entire situation is a tragedy.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edd

      I hope that sometime during your time at Columbia you will learn proper punctuation.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Goner

    Time to ban both skateboards, and old people. Both henceforth are not allowed out.

    July 26, 2011 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
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