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.

Post by:
Filed under: California
soundoff (1,053 Responses)
  1. RandianaJones

    I believe everyone has jumped to massive conclusions not based on all of the facts here. The article states that a truck had to stop to let the woman pass, possibly she was not crossing at the correct time. The kid was skateboarding down the hill, maybe the area was not posted and he was not aware. Too many of these comments have stated that he knowingly was breaking the law. People are hit by elderly drivers every day because of negligence (driving without a license, driving with impaired vision, motor movements or impaired hearing.) This kid is going to have consequences, legal and personal. Who are we to judge him after reading this short article without all the facts? Some people baffle me.

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

      Oh, and don't think that those elderly drivers even get near what a young adult would receive from a judge as far as a punishment.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nyles Cota

      damn right

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Windy Peterson

      The truck may have been turning right

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C.

      agreed

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense no longer exists.....clearly

      That's because, even after listening to the facts, they STILL make hasty, irrational decisions. I.E. Tuesday's court proceedings. 😐

      July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandianaJones

      @wendy- Exactly my point, we don't know the story, there is no side to be taken, the article only gives enough information to make an assumption about what happened in detail.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      If a skateboarder cannot stop his moving vehicle (skateboard), he is endangering others. Whether or not the kid was otherwise nice and well behaved, he directly caused someone's death while doing an illegal act. That should result in jail time.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Your 100% right Jones. Old people die easier...so should he be charged with something? I mean its not like she died when he hit her. The argument could be said that the hospital didn't do enough. It really could turn into any argument you want.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      You are making rather silly assumptions yourself. How do you know the driver didn't stop to be polite when he saw her waiting to cross? Why would it have to be posted at the top of the hill that skateboarding was not allowed in the business district? A local 17 year old kid, that's only one year or less away from legal adult, would have known better anyway, and now he has killed someone from the arrogance of thinking the rules didn't apply to him. Hard lesson to learn and at such a cost for the greiving husband and family!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Specter

      SKATE BOARDING IS A CRIME!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandianaJones

      @Burbank, what i am saying is that people will assume what they will, i wasn't stating those as facts. Simply, "IF you people assume the kid knew he was doing something illegal, THEN you can also assume that he didn't. It's moronic. The only thing i know for sure is that if any one of us were in their shoes, then we could make rational arguments.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way in California. I'm sure the boy feels terrible about this, but kids need to be taught that daredevil stunts like riding a skateboard down a steep hill are dangerous.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • digginestdogg

      Pardon me: according to CA law there is no incorrect time to cross in a cross walk. All traffic must stop for a person in a crosswalk PERIOD by law. He was wrong, she was right. Dead right. Make an example of him. skate boarding is not a crime, except when it hurts someone else. Then it is.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandianaJones

      You don't teach people what is wrong by exploiting a person who does something wrong, or something that people think is wrong. Marxist. If you make an exploit an individual for doing something you think is wrong, Then you are a Marxist. The penalties of law are not meant to make examples out of people, they are meant to punish what the justice system deems a crime. If that is how you would like to teach youth to teach their children what not to do, then i see that history really does repeat itself.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MostofusWouldNOTHaveDied

    Let's be honest. She died because of her age and state of physical health. Not because the impact of a skateboard collision is that devastating.

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

      Have you ever been hit by a body moving 15mph? Anyone could have been killed or injured by that kind of impact. You hit your head at the right angle and you're a goner.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • youkiddingme?

      A 25-year old in perfect health could EASILY die from the impact of being struck by a human body traveling at 15-20 mph. Whoever/whatever is to blame – it wasn't the victim's age.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense no longer exists.....clearly

      If that's the case, then why are there not more skateboarders that have actually died from their accidents? Lord knows they hit so many steel rails, walls, head on concrete, and everything else from skateboarding at high speeds. There should certainly be more deaths, be it other pedestrians, friends, or themselves, related to skateboarding if it was THAT deadly. Give me a break.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      "Let's be honest"??? What do you base your opinion on? Did you even read the details. The teen on the skateboard was coming down that hill at 15 to 20 miles per hour and collided with her.

      I knew a guy, in his mid-40s who was just out on his daily walk, and he was hit by a car that was backing up out of a driveway. I don't know all the details, but he was struck by the car, he fell, hit his head on the pavement, and he died. He was in his 40s, no health problems. What's your explanation for that?

      July 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      @ 16 I remember hitting another guy head on while skateboarding....we were technically doing 13+ each...which means a head on ='s 26mph into a brick wall. I was completely fine and got a nasty knot and black eye. This lady couldn't handle a 20mph hit that wasnt a head on. So you can easily subtract 5mph if your going off the "into a brick wall" scale.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Commonsense: most skateboarders wear padding and helmets. Those they hit do not. There are many cases where impacts like this cause serious injury, but they do not generally make the news.

      To me the bottom line is this: he was violating a safety law (no skateboarding in that area), and his actions directly resulted in someone's death. When you break a law and it causes great harm, there should be serious legal consequences.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @CommonSense - there's a difference between being hit by something you didn't even know was coming, and being THE skateboarder and being able to know what you're doing. The teen knew he was coming down fast, and he did have some time to react and prepare for what was about to happen. She had no idea.

      So, you're saying that to be hit by something you didn't know what was coming is the same as being a skateboarder knowingly making a jump off stairs? Not the same thing. Not even close.

      Your name "Common Sense no longer exists... clearly" really does describe you. You lack logic as well.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      If you are knocked over and hit your head on cement after free falling for 5 feet or however tall she way what do you think would happen? It certainly could kill you too if you struck the right place on your head.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • stopbeingmean

      Are you kidding me? What the hell do you call football-Attempted Murder?

      July 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CBD

      you don't know what her physical health was – JERK !

      July 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      really...her age killed her...the hospital killed her...but not the irresponsible kid...no...not him...he's an innocent good for nothing 17 year old endangering other people's lives for his enjoyment. We had a 35 year old woman die instantly in NYC when a messenger on a bicycle hit her. Hitting someone at 15-20 mph is enough to kill or severely injure anyone no matter what their age. I'm very far from being 83 but I'm sure that if I were hit by someone on a skateboard going at 15-20mph...i'd be either dead or severely injured. This kid should be punished to send a message to the rest of the kids out there who think it's ok to skateboard at those speeds and there won't be any consequences.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      So what? That's one of the reasons skateboarding is illegal there. If he had hit a child would you still give him a free pass?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lolwutno

    Hypothetical:

    83 year old woman is driving 35 in a 30 MPH zone. She doesn't see a 17-year old pedestrian walking out into the crosswalk and she strikes him and kills him.

    Manslaughter? Jail time? (Can't wait to hear the hypocrisy on this one)

    July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense no longer exists.....clearly

      Dude, you won't hear anything but crickets. Because they pick and choose what type of "victims" to cheer for and "criminals" to condemn. Don't you get it?

      Or, the other scenario is that they will, well, lie. And say yes, the same applies to the old lady. But you and I both know, it won't be true. *shrugs*

      July 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandianaJones

      Yep.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Your right, we have this idea that old people are always right or we have to respect them because their "our elders". I dont have a problem with respecting them, but its the disrespect of younger people that annoys me. Double standards in general annoy the hell out of me.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      There was no mention of putting the kid in jail so chill and pay better attention to what you are saying.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      I don't understand the comparison. If an old lady sped and caused a pedestrian's death, she should have to pay for it. Given age and mentality, jail time might not be the correct option, but who would argue that she shouldn't be punished?

      I had a student a few years ago who killed a pedestrian while driving home. My student was a sweet, decent kid, and she nearly broke several ribs stopping suddenly (but unfortunately not quickly enough). It was hard for me not to sympathize with my student, but the truth is she was at fault, and I think she went to jail for it.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if . . .

      Chirp* Chirp* . . . . . Chirp* Chirp*

      July 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      CHRIS
      what annoys me is that you have the audacity to post anything with all your spelling and grammar mistakes. Spend your time taking some elementary english classes before posting anything.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dredd

      "Manslaughter? Jail time?"

      Absolutely, and you forgot "speeding ticket".

      July 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. shecherie

    How tragic

    July 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wrawn

    The key words in the article . . . "Slettehaugh was in a crosswalk" nuff said.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      ACTUALLY.... not nuff said. Being in a crosswalk does not always give you supreme rights.... Couple of examples, Even in a cross walk, it is the pedestrians reponsibility to check for traffic before stepping off the curb and ensure that they have given traffic enought time to stop for them. I don't know about CA, but here in NV, even if a person is in a marked crosswalk, but they are crossing against a signal, they are still jaywalking, and they are at fault for any accident that occurs. Also figure in we don't know what this street looks like. Maybe it is 2 lanes each direction, and she could not be seen by the kid because she was hidden by the truck. Now... he was skateboarding in an area where he shouldn't have been. Whether he knew that or not doesn't matter (ignorance of the law is not an excuse). That doesn't make him a bad person, it just means he made a mistake. He obviously doesn't feel good about what happened, and he stayed with her until help arrived.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anon

    Meh she had a good 83 year run...

    July 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Tell that to those who loved her.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jessicaber

    I try to comment on these, because I have a wordpress website and I like to see the CNN News come up in my "track my comments" bar.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. herrsonic

    She died doing something she enjoyed ... taking her daily walk.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Derweissengel

    What a vengeful society we live in. I'm tired of all you self-righteous law and order freaks wanting jail time for everybody but yourselves. As if you've never broken *any* law. You're just lucky it didn't kill someone, or you'd be in the same place as that poor kid. Hey, the woman was 83, and like someone said, she had a good run. Tough t*tties she's dead.

    July 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrezUno

      Yup, with you 99.9%

      July 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • gumpday

      I may not be the first in line when you meet your untimely passing caused by another's senseless, reckless and irresponsible act, but I will be be there to cheer your demise. You are a callous sob.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Derweissengel:

      Yes, a lot of us have done stupid things in the past. I would be dead, or in jail, if I had not been lucky at times. We cannot put everyone in jail for bad choices, but we can put those away whose bad choices led to bad consequences. I am NOT one of the vengeful people, but in this case I think the kid's illegal actions warrant serious punishment.

      Maybe you think the bad feelings he got from this are enough punishment. If he is a good kid, he may well suffer greatly from this. But if you think this way, why should we have jails at all? Should we only put people in jail who do not feel bad for their crimes?

      July 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • geez

      How heartless. It's a shame he couldn't have hit you instead. No, we don't all go around breaking the law. It's actually not that hard. Speed limits and stop signs aren't just to inconvenience you. They exist for safety reasons including your own. If you prefer to think of it as 'having consideration for the health and safety of others" rather than obeying the law, then practice that. I doubt you do though, based on your cruel remarks. My condolences to her husband on his terrible loss.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ANON

    83 years is a good run...besides are they really going to try to ruin the life of a 17 year old kid over an 83 year old dying? lets get real here what is useful about an 83 year old women other then greeting me at the door in wall mart... point is dont ruin a future productive member of the work force over grandma being struck by a skateboard and falling on her bad hip

    July 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      The run would have lasted longer if not for the law-breaking teen.

      Actions have consequences. He killed someone, he should be punished. It doesn't matter that - as the story says - he's a clean-cut, honest kid. Maybe he can get less time then, but he should still be punished.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sockness Monster

      You got a date with tot mom ?

      You are what is wrong with society.
      No respect.

      I will bet that you change the furniture around on blind people,
      just to see them fall.
      Sick FCK. !!!!!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      you're a monster! make no mistake about it...there's something definitely wrong with you. My mom is almost 83 and I would literally kill that kid if that had been my mom. I'd certainly insist that he be punished to the full extent of the law. Who the heck are you to decide that this poor woman's life was not worth anything and less than that loser kid. I can't believe what you wrote...a real monster....

      July 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Anon, I am going to take it that you are a relatively young male. I can‘t wait to hear from you when you are 43 and you‘ve lost your hair, 53 when you lost your mojo, 63 when you lost your knees (arthritis), 73 when your heart needs help. If you are breathing and you are enjoying life SHUT UP!! People aren’t disposable.

      As for the article, although the kid was wrong, he did not wilfully kill her and he stayed with her and that’s more than what most adult motorists do. I think it was a very unfortunate accident and it was the wrong time and wrong place and maybe bylaws aren’t so bad after all.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Zack

    Screw the old lady, she shoulda gotoutta da way
    i can do any ding i want
    this free country skrw old ppl
    nobody tels me what do do
    morons.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      Keep on doing what you are doing. The nightmare is coming for you....

      July 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. What if . . .

    The general perception and mob mentality displayed by many of the comments here appaul me. The self-righteous indignants who say this young man should burn ARE the real problem. What if this was your Son, Nephew, Neighbor, Friend, Classmate, etc . . . ? You wouldn't be here trolling CCN Forums demanding Justice and Retribution.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sockness Monster

      To What If.......

      The people in my life dont do stupid, or illegal things
      that harm other people.
      Grow up.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if . . .

      @Sockness Monster: Thank you for proving my point. Self-righteousness and ignorance at its finest!!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karen

    I was hit by a skateboarder 17 years ago ...blind-sided actually and although it didn't knock me over, it hurt a lot and startled me ...I was only 40 and in good condition so that's probably why I didn't get seriously injured. I feel bad for all involved..the young lad, the poor woman and her family...it was a tragic accident...

    July 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Victor

    Give the kid a break. If a near-blind, half senile 83 year old had been driving & killed a 17 year old while he was crossing the street, people would say "Ah, the kid was probably high. Why didn't he look both ways before crossing?" Anyway, I'll state the obvious: At 83, she was more of a liability to society than an asset.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      I sincerely wish that you hear some young punk say those exact words to you when you are old. Better yet, why not just commit suicide now, the world would be a far better place without you in it.

      July 7, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • What if . . .

      @Burbank. You Sir/Ma'am . . are an imbesile. Way to take the high road and stay true to your convictions of justness. Hoping someone, probably a much more productive member of society than you, commits suicide really shows your true colors. Bravo!!

      July 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sockness Monster

      PLEASE READ WHAT VICTOR SAYS......

      Old people who have a life time of knowledge, no longer mean anything
      because they are old ???
      These people have much wisdome to pass on to the rest of us,
      but now its ok to toss them aside ?

      What does Victor have to offer the rest of us ?
      His skateboard knowledge ?

      Sad that this Victor has no respect for human life
      outside of his own twisted existence...

      July 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lena

    I am so sorry for the family's loss, but I hope they will always remember that she was able to walk from home to the beach and back every single day up until the day she died. No nursing home or anything of that sort. I hope they will take comfort from that. It is still so tragic. My condolences.

    July 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28