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. SuzanneC

    I'm one of the first to understand that sometimes accidents do happen, but accidents are ALWAYS caused. The 17 yr old who took her eyes off the road "for just a second" and hit a car that was stopped at a crosswalk to let a family pass by and ended up pushing that car into the family, which ended up killing a 3 yr old, THAT was just an accident too. But should that "bygone" be passed off as a bygone? When my car was hit by a car that had slid on black ice, THAT too was an accident, but again, an accident that could've been avoided if the other driver had been more careful. I didn't let that bygone be a bygone.
    Granted, in this case the 17 yr old DID take responsibility and accountability, but just because someone's in the wrong place at the wrong time does NOT mean "let the whole thing go." I doubt VERY seriously that ANY of you who are saying "this was just an accident, let bygones be bygones, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time" are the first ones to sue when an "accident" comes your way.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      Thats sad but accidents do happen no matter how you want to spin it.....

      July 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      It comes down to fate eventually.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      Wow, you sound rather bitter. It must be hard going through life with you.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Yes, everything can be traced to some cause, but the word 'accident' in this case refers to the fact that no one planned for it to happen.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snookie

      yes we should arrest and sentence to life without parole anyone who makes any type of mistake, including you. that is the american way. then all of us can wear straight jackets and stay in our padded housed because it is far too dangerous to go outside and risk having an accident or being the victim of some crime. help make the US a safer place!

      July 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • KRS1

      Why are women always the ones who want to sue in an auto accident? You guys are responsible for the majority of them I would think you might have some empathy for the driver.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meggie

      There's a reason the word "accident" was created, otherwise, everything unfortunate that happens in life would be called an "on purpose". Chain reactions/domino effects occur every day without any malicious intent and can result in injury/death. That's life. Instead of looking to blame every innocent-intended event in the chain, you'd be better off packaging yourself in bubble wrap and spend each day hiding under your bed.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      I've never sued anyone in my life, but I did skateboard a lot as a kid. It's hard to correct when traveling at those speeds without wiping. That is just a sad situation. On a side note, Capitola is an absolutely beautiful place to live.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Manslaughter is often the charge when people kill others accidently. It should be applied here.

      Accidents do not take away the responsibility of the guilty party. Besides, he'll probably get deferred adjudication anyways.

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

      goodnews, please stop acting like you know even a slight ounce about the law. You're a total buffoon.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ash

      What do you think the punishment should be?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Skateboarding is not a crime.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      But negligence resulting in death usually is.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • B. J.

      You,re right skateboarding in and of itself is not a crime. KILLING someone is a crime if you are responsible for their death and just because you're riding a skateboard doesn't make it any less of a crime. Ever hear of 'criminal negligence'?

      July 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • cc

      @Bid_D – Actually, it is. If you read the article it clearly says "Booth said municipal code prohibits skateboarding the Capitola Village commercial district" So, yes, where he was riding, it was a crime.
      Sometimes an accident is an accident. Sometimes it's more.
      You can get a DUI/DWI on a peddle bike, on a riding mower, even riding a horse drunk in public.....

      July 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      Skateboarding in an area where skateboarding is prohibited IS a crime.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      The old woman was equally if not more negligent for not looking where she was walking. It's not like someone moving at 20mph appears suddenly out of nowhere.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    I'd rather get hit by 5 lbs. of wood vs. 3,000 lbs. of steel!

    July 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • youkiddingme?

      She wasn't hit by 5 lbs of wood – she was hit by a human being, likely more than 150 lbs....

      July 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob Frapples

    Time for Death Penalty for Skateboarding...Eye for an Eye...Kids should stay home and Read Books and help their Neighbors instead of pursuing these selfish, air Wasting endeavours.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Trolls should stay under bridges.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bubba

    skateboarding is a crime..when you kill some1 doing it

    July 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mycology

      No, Skateboarding is still not a crime. Killing someone is – no matter what you use to kill the person.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      It's a good thing failing at reading comprehension isn't a crime or Mycology would be locked up. The article clearly says that skateboarding IS a crime in this area. Just because it is legal in your area does not mean that is the case everywhere.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Doug

    Wow, what a sad story.. The poor lady, and the kid.. just sad for everyone.. I hope they don't charge him with crap that will turn his life upside down;; not necessary , he feels bad enough !

    July 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ed

    It's all fun and games until you start killing people...

    July 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • hip

      How do u know he wasn't going to work on his skateboard? Don't sound like the kid was being mischievous.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big_D

    Sorry to break it to you kid, that is manslaughter.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rev. Christie Bliss. Ley

    This teenager has to live with what he did for the rest of his life. I think that is punishment enough

    July 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TwoCents

    Was it an accident?: It appears to be so
    Was the skateboarder breaking the law? Yes. Ignorance is not an excuse.
    Was the skateboarder sorry for what he had done? Again, it appears to be so otherwise he would have left her.
    Was the lady "old"? 83 is elderly, but people live into their 100s now. Saying that she lived a full life (etc, etc) says nothing about what she could do over the next 10-20 years. Her life was cut short by the skateboarder.
    Should he be charged for a crime? Yes. Manslaughter at the minimum.
    Would it be different if a person her this woman with a bike or car? Probably not. A person got hit and died. The fault was on person "controlling" the mode of transportation.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob Frapples

    He should have to Marry Casey Anthony...then he would be careful...

    July 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Al

    That is a shame; once again PARENTING GONE AWRY....if he had respect for the law/authority he would not have been in a place where he shouldnt have been....yeah, I know, kids will be kids....then put his parent in jail for his actions....people need to start being more responsible for their actions....WHERE IN THE HELL IS NANCY GRACE.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meggie

      It's time for your meds, Al.

      July 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      if you are experienced at riding a skateboard than it is not irresponsible you are obviously uninformed and ignorant to blame this on society i am positive their are professional skateboarders who have made a career and living out of this sport and that they make more money than you

      July 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DumbChuck

    Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no reason. It doesn't mean you have to throw someone in jail over an accident. No matter how hard you try, you can't prepare for every eventuallity – ergo the phrase "S happens." Such a blood thirsty lot aren't we?

    July 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Razzi Berry

    It's a tragic loss, but the kid is innocent of a malicious act. Are you going to blame the panel truck driver who stopped to let the lady cross as well.? What seems to be wrong with the good 'ol USA is that there is always a person ready to find fault in others. If you want to bash someone go to the Casey Anthony stories and post there about the new precedent set by Florida for murder.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. maX

    Looks like the situation was "rolling" down on her.

    July 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
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