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. Peter

    Oh, for heaven's sake. Let's not be blind and stupid. This is a 17-year old kid just in the beginning of his life. Let's not ruin this kid's life because of this.

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

      Funny... I thought he was the one that chose to violate the law in a reckless manner that killed a woman.

      But hey, how about a compromise. 1 year taken off his life for every year he stupidly stole from her? Say... 10-15?

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

      Bill it has to be a criminal offense, skateboarding would likely be a civil case.

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

      Yeah, it doesn't matter that this kid ended someone else's life, let's not do anything to this poor kid. Can't have him learning a lesson about not doing stupid things and endangering other people, right?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Modern Philosophy

      You realize falling is the number one cause of death for the elderly? Tia I'm talking about the way you will die.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beadlesaz

      Peter – do you ever despair of the callousness of our fellow human beings? I do. I think back on all the stupid (and dangerous) things I did as a young person. If, as the police sargeant said, he is a good kid – he will spend the rest of his life knowing he took another life. We have more than one victim in this tragic accident.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • M_Edwards

      She probably didn't have long to live anyway.

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

      God's will be done.

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

      Yeah I agree. He's only 17 and i understand what thats like cuz I'm 17. It was an accident, they should convict him for the law against riding his skateboard there and let it go at that. This poor young man will feel bad enough the rest of his life without adding years of prison time on top of that.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      hay, he KILLED someone, and rueined her husbands life, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, negligant homicide, fry this litte hooligan

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

      Brilliant. You win moron of the day award.

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

      Peter.. peter.. it wasn't your grandmother or mother, that's why you're okay with it.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @Modern Philosphy:

      CA Penal Code Section 192 : Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without
      malice. (b) Involuntary–in the commission of an unlawful act, not
      amounting to felony;

      Legal Definition "unlawful act": Behavior that is not authorized by law; commission of or participation in an activity that violates criminal or civil law.

      Care to try again? Perhaps you have some case law contradicting my interpretation of those two plain ole English sentence fragments?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chief of Sinners

      Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral
      choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat
      for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than
      a healthy man may have shown in winning the Victoria Cross. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or
      refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at
      by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up
      life itself for a friend. (C.S. Lewis)

      By the looks of it here, we should all be serving life sentences...

      July 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      If this kid were black, he'd be in jail and the DA would be seeking a "homicide" conviction.

      Since this kid is white, we're doing everything we can to ensure his life isn't ruined by his "unfortunate mistake."

      Anyone besides me see the difference? I'm white and even I see the difference.

      This kid did something really dumb and now someone is dead.

      At a minimum, this should be a manslaughter case.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    Criminally Negligent Homicide: "When there is an omission to act when there is a duty to do so, or a failure to perform a duty owed, which leads to a death."

    Posted rule: No skateboarding.
    Duty owed: Duh, don't skateboard.

    He should be in jail.

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

      You are daft.

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

      You're an idiot!

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

      Hey, your probably the same person that would see children in the playground handcuffed and sent to jail for shoving matches. The crime was skateboarding when it was unauthorized. Solution fine the skateboarder.. done. End of case. Why drag law into every crevice of life. Sad an old lady died, but why take two lives away.

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

      Your ignorance of the law is stunning. If this were really how things worked, anyone involved in a car accident while speeding, following too closely, or any other traffic violation would be guilty of criminal negligence.

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

      Your an idiot, lets use common sense you stupid idiot, it was an accident. If we started using more common sense in the court system we would not be putting people away for stupid offenses. Its people like you that mess up this country

      July 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      at the very least, and as a minor, nail his folks, because it is there duty and obligation to control there p**ck kids.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      to all the rest of you lib-tard responders to this post, If you can go to jail for killing someone with a car, then you should go to jail for killing someone with any type of vehicle, or do only rich repubs in suv's deserve that fate?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      CA Penal Code Section 192 : Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without
      malice. (b) Involuntary–in the commission of an unlawful act, not
      amounting to felony;

      Legal Definition "unlawful act": Behavior that is not authorized by law; commission of or participation in an activity that violates criminal or civil law.

      City ordinances banning skateboarding in specific areas are to prevent damage and injury... similar to laws barring shooting a gun in the air, driving while impaired, or speeding.

      Yes, if you killed somebody while speeding or following too closely, you would be charged with murder. It happens often. Google California Tonga Royal if you don't believe me.

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

      Wow, are you sure you didn't create some sort of interpretive law course or something? A duty owed can't be a negative. This is more like putting a infant in a car seat while in a moving vehicle. It doesn't say 'don't just leave your baby to roll around on the seat'. You get it yet? It can't be a negative duty – a lack. It has to be a positive act.

      July 8, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. JFK57

    Clearly she should have been wearing a helmut.

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

      lol

      July 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • it's pat

      Anyone else notice that a panel truck had stopped for her? So was she going against the light? Yes she died so let's fry the kid. Listen my mother is 82 and I'd be horrified and hurt and saddened until the day I died, BUT I'm not going to want to throw this kid in jail either. He has to live with the fact that he killed someone for the rest of HIS life. Punishment enough. Relax you cold hearted fools.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ebonynivory

    He'll probably do more time than Casey Anthony!!!! R.I.P. Mrs.Slettehaugh ~

    July 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Modern Philosophy

    Can't charge someone for manslaughter that way.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Depends on how the law is written in that state. Accidental killings are usually what merits manslaughter charges in most states.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      dude, manslaughter, is any form of death that is not premeditated, death by vehicle (SKATEBOARD) is vehicular manslaughter.

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

      You seem to be having trouble finding this, so I'll post it again, just for you.

      CA Penal Code Section 192 : Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without
      malice. (b) Involuntary–in the commission of an unlawful act, not
      amounting to felony;

      Legal Definition "unlawful act": Behavior that is not authorized by law; commission of or participation in an activity that violates criminal or civil law.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wikiwhaaat

    i say hang the skate board they obviously had it out for this woman

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

    What a cool way to go!

    July 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. badcompany

    to b honest, her age prolly did have a lot to do with the fact that she died. and b4 u pull out the big guns and ask 'what if it was ur mom?' I can honestly say that I would applaude her going out in a blaze of glory, so to speak. beats wasting aw
    y

    July 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Let's just hope you don't breed.

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

      Maybe when you've made it past grade school you'll be mature enough to comprehend and not think that it would be cool to have your mother killed by an ignorant kid on a skateboard.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • RealTime

      Admit it.... badcompany is the result of brother/sister retards reproducing.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      I hope someone runs over your mother.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    Anybody riding a skateboard should be put to death. All skateboards should be burned. This is just another horrible horrible reason that skateboards should be outlawed everywhere

    July 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • David M

      Well Matt, there's a well thought-out response. Did you miss taking your meds today?

      July 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      in public i absolutly agree, if you want to go to a skatepark and endanger yourself thats fine, but in public, useing a vehicle with no brakes should be iligal.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. well because

    We don't know all the facts so we can't make any judgment. I really feel sorry for both parties. There is to be an investigation, but what ever happens, I hope this young man's life is not ruined by some insensitive judge who may be allowed to charge him with a felony, he is going to have to live with this the rest of his life, and that in its self is punishiment, but due respect for the law, there needs to be some kind of sanction for his missdeeds, he shouldn't get by with just a scolding. Maybe some community service in an emergency room on weekend nights.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Well unfortunately killing people, even accidentally, is a felony. Maybe if this young man chose to observe the law he would not have to worry about that, but he didn't.

      He should be charged with manslaughter, but, he will most likely get deferred adjudication. In manslaughter cases that often amounts to 10 years. So he will have to not break any more laws for 10 years and it will not go on his record. If he does screw up again though, he's done. So basically, even if he is charged and found guilty, and receives deferred adjudication, his future is still in his own hands.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Light In The Black

      We dont know all the facts ??????

      It was posted
      He ignored it
      she is dead

      What more facts do you need ???????

      I am 56 years old, and i was raised to treat people with respect
      and to "OBEY" laws.

      Young people today have "NO" respect for anything.

      For those who defend this thug,
      I feel sorry for you.
      I dont want you living near me.
      PUNKS.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. badcompany

    that's bcause im not ancient, bill. I never cared for my lit classes neway. that's y I skipped most of em.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      No kidding? Because you come off so eloquent...

      July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Think

    What if the kid had died while trying to avoid her? Would you all condemn the old lady? Or just say the kid was being a stupid teenager? I could easily see a situation in which he had no choice but to go the direction he did or risk possibly being killed himself. Perhaps he chose what he thought was the lesser of two evils? We'll never know because we were not there.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      Actually, when people die while breaking laws, my response is usually "that's what you get." If that kid died while breaking the law, my response would be the same.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      If he died trying to avoid her, it would still be his fault. Don't be silly.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Light In The Black

      Its ok if i am breaking the law, to kill somebody else
      to save my own life ????????

      WHAT THE FCK !!!!!!!!!!!

      July 7, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      he should have bailed on the board, tried to roll with it, and risk/save himself. To take out a passerby insted is negligant at best, borderline assult resulting in death the way it played out, so yes, if he died, he would have died doing the right thing, not lived by killing someone eltse, that is not how civalized humans should act. Remove this parisite from the gene pool.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coaster

      mickey – he DID bail from the board. It doesn't say whether the board hit her anyway, or he did. He probably has a h3lluva road rash though. " the skateboarder, who was traveling down a steep hill, jumped off the board and tried to avoid colliding...." He's lucky he didn't die as well.

      July 8, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Elle

    We need to protect pedestrians - particularly the very young and very old. A kid going at top speed on a skateboard is a very dangerous missile - and a risk to himelf as well. Public sidewalks are for walkers. That said, I am all in favor of building more parks where kids can play and sharpen their skills. Just not on public thoroughfares. And sharing the streets with cars is deadly for a skateboarder. I know Capitola very well, and it is an exquisite beach community. I am so sorry that this lady met her end in such a violent andneedless way.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. skateboarding is not a crime

    old people.

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

      Unless it's outlawed in a particular area. Like, you know, in this case.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Good News

      It is where this incident occured. Please learn to read.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      your name is wrong in most of the united stated dude, and should be everywhere in the US.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dob Bole

    Why was this kid skateboarding in the kitchen!?

    July 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
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