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. Alex666

    Skate Or Die!

    July 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. really?

    wow... really? charge the kid with manslaughter? for an obvious accident? really?

    July 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Look up the definition of Manslaughter...It is usually an ACCIDENT/NON-INTENTIONAL...Accidents are usually caused by IRRESPONSIBILITY thus why we have "Manslaughter"...Just because it was an accident doesn't mean the kid shouldn't be punished for being IRRESPONSIBLE.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSnord

      It was not an accident. The kid was in clear violation of city ordinances and the resulting accident was foreseeable given the speed involved, the nature of the are, and the limited mobility of a fast-moving skateboard. A reasonable person, even one 17 years old would conclude that his actions were dangerous to others.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott in TX

      Umm..., yeah. Really. That's manslaughter buddy.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDaniels

      You might want to look up the definition of "manslaughter", friendo.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ike

    Damn teenagers... I bet none of us did ANYTHING reckless and stupid when we were that age. Hang him high! All us perfect people on this blog demand it! Death penalty to the dumb kids of the world!

    July 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSnord

      Histrionics are silly. The kid needs to face some consequences for his actions, but stringing him up from a tree on Cemetery Hill is a bit extreme. What others did in the past is irrelevant.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott in TX

      Going just a wee bit overboard with your comment, aren't you?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan123

      Old woman killed in car / pedestrian accident. Old woman killed in truck / pedestrian accident. Old woman killed by any motorized vehicle / pedestrian accident...do any of these make national news? Hell no. Just because the kid was on a skateboard CNN wants to sensationalize and give us someone to demonize. Don't take the bait.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • MP81

      Yes, this kid deserves to be tried as an adult, and spend the next 70+ years of his life behind bars with hardened criminals to remind him that you shouldn't ride a skateboard that fast. Let's save the jail space for the people that really should be there.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense no longer exists.....clearly

      Yeah MP81. Like Casey Anthony. Too bad we won't see that.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • MP81

      Yes, Anthony deliberately killed someone and should be there.

      But back to this case: Obviously, since you are legally an adult at age 18 and legally allowed to drink at 21, the law recognizes that there is an immense difference terms of decision-making and judgment skills at different ages in life. This kid made a mistake because he is young and obviously lacks these skills. Jail is to punish and protect the public from serious criminals. I highly doubt I will sleep any better at night knowing that he is off the streets...

      July 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lindalou

    This was negligence on the kids part but he did show responsibility and remorse over the whole thing. This seems like an instance where community service would be recommended. He could speak at schools, volunteer at nursing homes, pick up trash. Murder was not his intent. It was an accident.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brandon

    Was the "Walk" light for the crosswalk green? The article mentions that a truck had stopped for the old woman, implying that he was doing her a favor rather than yielding to the pedestrian's right-of-way. Either way, in the end it was just an unfortunate accident, and the kid probably shouldn't have been skateboarding there. However, if the old woman was jaywalking....

    July 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trip

      My guess is it was, other wise the kid would not have been passing through at the same time as the woman.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rayal

      Typical teen reply. In case some of you have never heard this, a pedestrian, no matter what age, always, always, always has the right of way. It does not matter even the color of the light, or even who was doing what....our laws on this is to prevent pedestrians, all pedestrians (you and me as well) from getting killed by trucks, cars, bikes, and yes, even your silly skateboards.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Really...

      Actually, in instances where pedestrians are making illegal crosses (i.e. a pedestrian crossing a busy intersection when the cars have right of way) they pedestrian is responsible. I'm not saying this diminishes the culpability of the teenager, but the "I'm a pedestrian I *always* have the right of way" mentality is fallacious. At least when it comes to vehicles, the law of tonnage should be followed.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coaster

      The article says the truck was stopped to let her pass, but it doesn't say whether she had the right of way, or he had stopped because he was being nice, or even if she had just stepped out in front of him. It could have been that the kid had reason to believe that traffic moving in his direction should have the right of way and there shouldn't be people crossing the street just then. A panel truck stopped in the far right lane could seem to be stopped there to be unloading goods, and not for traffic reasons. That he was skateboarding where he shouldn't have been is a given, but there are a lot of other factors that come into play. And...he *jumped off the skateboard* that would be while it was barreling down the hill, mind you, to try and avoid the accdident. Let's rephrase that: not taking his own life into account, he threw himself into traffic at 15-20mph, attempting to avoid the pedestrian. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. How many of us would have tried to give our lives in place of the woman's?

      July 8, 2011 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. justice

    the boy should be sentenced to death

    July 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      are you kidding me??

      July 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trip

      It appears the young man took responsibility and showed remorse, her death on his conscious for life will be enough.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. che-3

    Lock him and his parents up. I knew something like this will happen one day. These skateboarders have no respect for others. They just zoom past you like they own the world.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • wearetheworld

      we do own the world, bow down.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      look up informal logical fallacies. You have committed what is called a hasty generalization. Just because this kid was skateboarding down a hill and accidentally hit a woman doesn't mean all skateboarders zip around and act like they own the place. Even if the majority of California skateboarders do that (which you or I don't know and haver no statistics to back it up) you can't claim ALL skateboarders do that. The kid should not be punished. Killing someone on accident is punishment enough. I don't know the kid or the woman and I feel terrible for both of them. I can't imagine how bad this kid must feel.

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

      If we did that, half the nation would be in jail. Boys will be boys it is only natural for them to look for excitement.

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

      Then you are responsible for it. You knew this would happen, and you did nothing to prevent it. You are no better than the person who leaves a loaded gun on the coffee table in a room full of 5 year olds, and then tells the police officers and grieving parents "I knew this would happen". HYPOCRITE.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Common Sense no longer exists.....clearly

    See? THIS is how you handle accidents that result in death, people. It happens all the time. You stay with the victim. You contact authorities. You own up to your actions (or lack thereof). And you hold yourself accountable and trust that the earlier events add up to an honest accident or mistake. You don't duct tape it, bag it up, and drive to the nearest swamp. YOU HEAR THAT JUROR #3? F_kking idiots.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mommajam

    This is such a tragedy. Kids make mistakes.....so sorry to hear this one was fatal. Condolences to her family.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Caral From SoCal

    Poor lady – it's tough getting older, moving slower in our fast-paced world. It sounds as if this kid cared enough to stay, to take responsibility. But you do have to wonder- this is the second time she's been struck by a skateboarder? Wow – what are the odds?

    July 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • CSnord

      The odds? In a California beach town? About 3 to 1.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tiffany

    this very sad and a freak accident. the kid didnt mean to do this. and if he was such a bad person why did he stay with her most likely until she died in his arms. accidents happen people die its the circle of life. now quit trying to blame someone and just pray for the family of the woman and for the kid cause this young boy will have to live with the fact he killed someone for the rest of his life.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. badcompany

    I skateboarded in highschool and graduated in the top 25 of my class With honors. Just bcause we skateboard doesn't mean were stupid. h

    July 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      You've made quite a few spelling and grammatical errors for having graduated near the top of your class with honors.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coaster

      Bill, he dropped an apostrophe and added a cap, missed a couple keystrokes here and there....and you think that shows that he didn't graduate with honors. Silly boy. It shows that he doesn't run every comment through Word first like *some* people. You'll find, Bill, that the more mature posters can handle commenting, and reading comments, with a few little typographical errors here and there without getting their panties all in a bunch. When you grow up, you'll be like that too.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. fleurdesol

    it was an accident. he sould get cherged for knowingly skateboardin where it was illegal, but not for manslaughter! absurd!

    July 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Warren

    Hang the boy by his balls!

    July 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EJ in Metro Houston

    this was a terrible accident and if anything this kid will be haunted by this for the rest of his life. That might be punishment enough. He'll be in counsel and sometimes people like this become victims of suicide if they can't deal with it. It's a shame to live 86 years then go out like this. My sympathy to all involved.

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