Atherton woman arrested in hit-and-run

Bystanders took car keys away from inebriated driver

A 62-year-old Atherton woman was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence during a chaotic exit from a Menlo Park parking plaza at 1 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 7).

Police said the driver's vehicle struck parked cars twice, injuring two people. Each time, bystanders came to the rescue, helping a man pinned between two parked cars, and taking the keys from the suspect after her car collided with a tree, police said.

Margaret Brill was booked into the San Mateo County jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless driving, and hit-and-run with injury, according to Nicole Acker, a spokesperson for the Menlo Park Police Department.

Police said it began when Brill was backing out of a parking space in the plaza behind the 600 block of Santa Cruz Avenue. Her vehicle rammed a parked car, which then struck another car, pinning a man between them, police said.

Several bystanders pulled the cars apart and freed the victim, police said. Firefighters with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District assisted the man, who was taken to Stanford Hospital with "non-life threatening injuries," Acker said in a statement.

Without stopping, the car pulled out onto Curtis Avenue before fishtailing on Santa Cruz Avenue, striking two more vehicles. Her car stopped after leaping the center median into a tree, according to the police department.

A woman in one of the parked vehicles received minor injuries, but was not hospitalized, police said.

Call 650-330-6300 to contact police about this case.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

The SJ Merc adds that she was driving a Mercedes and refused a field sobriety test. Hopefully, there will finally be some consequences for this woman. You can't drive around punch drunk at noon on a Tuesday and send someone to the hospital. Even if you live in Atherton and drive a Mercedes. Shame on you.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by MADD
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

Drunk drivers aren't going to learn their lesson until we have mandatory jail sentences for every conviction.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

In Sweden, you lose your driver's license forever after one DUI arrest. Works like a charm!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jared Bernstein
a resident of University South
on Dec 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

I used to work over there.
It'd be interesting to see a map with her path and x's at the impact locations.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bella
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Dec 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

I wonder how they knew she was driving under the influence if she refused a sobriety test. Smell it on her breath? Sometimes there can be another medical condition going on that mimics drunkenness.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm


A phlebotomist checked her blood-alcohol level at the police station.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by JustMe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

If you have a "medical condition" that causes you to drive like that and flee the scene of an accident, you should not be driving, regardless of what the "medical condition" might be. No "medical condition" trumps the safety of others.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Bella, whatever the cause of her condition this woman should not have gotten behind the wheel of a car.

Anyone care to take a bet as to whether it turns out that she had one of those medical conditions? Anyone like to speculate as to why, if she had one of those medical conditions, she refused the field sobriety test?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by MADD
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

There is a word for people like this: KILLER. If they can't admit to that, they are still in denial about their problem.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I wonder where she had been drinking. The business(es) that overserved her could be in a bit of trouble, too. She was apparently not out having high tea with her lady friends.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Someone with diabetes who has a sharp drop or spike in blood sugar could act this way. Not likely in her situation . . .

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moe
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Hmmmm, If a person is obviously of proper age (62) it is not always so obvious how much that person had to drink (Perhaps at another establishment) Some drunks can put on quite a convincing show. Don't start looking for others to blame.
This person did the drinking, got behind the wheel and she alone should be held responsible.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liz
a resident of Portola Valley
on Dec 27, 2010 at 12:25 am

Are people no longer innocent until proven guilty? To read the comments posted by supposedly well educated Palo Altans, one would think that the main purpose of the comments section is to be judge and jury of whomever is arrested, or even suspected, of a possible crime.

Speculation based on limited information is not proof. Nevertheless, it is nice to know that one's community is so full of people gifted with prescience

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