Seven injured in multi-vehicle crash in Palo Alto

Collision on Highway 101 near San Antonio Road involved shuttle van

A traffic collision involving an Airport shuttle van and three other vehicles in Palo Alto late Wednesday night sent seven people to the hospital, one with serious injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol and the Palo Alto Fire Department.

The collision was reported at 11:53 p.m. on southbound U.S. Highway 101 just north of San Antonio Road, near the border of Palo Alto and Mountain View, CHP said.

Nine people were evaluated for injuries and seven were taken to Stanford Hospital with various injuries, according to a statement from Palo Alto Fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard.

One of them, a man from San Jose, was taken to Stanford Hospital with a laceration to his left eye, CHP said. The man also complained of chest pain.

Another man and a woman were also injured, but less severely. They were both transported to the hospital to be treated for neck pain. Several lanes of the highway were blocked for over an hour while emergency crews cleaned up the scene.

The driver of the Airport shuttle reported that the shuttle was slowing down because of road construction near the San Antonio exit when it was hit from behind by another car, according to Woodard. That car, which was reportedly traveling at regular highway speed, struck the van and pushed it into another car.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Gennady Sheyner


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Posted by inevitable
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

I'm not surprised. The combination of a concrete barrier along the shoulder and the narrowing of the road due to construction, with insufficient warning, simply looked like an accident waiting to happen. I was driving home at 11pm last night - I was southbound on 101 and got off at San Antonio Rd. It was really not clear what was coming up approaching the construction area.

The more likely place for an accident, though, is the merge onto southbound 101 from Oregon/Embarcadero. It's a short merge and no shoulder - if cars don't let you merge, there's no place to go. No one is paying any attention to the new 55mph speed limit.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

101 has become a nightmare since they started the recent construction. Is it really going to take until 2014 to build a new lane?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

I was SB on 101 at University early on Wednesday morning, returning from SFO. Another driver entered the freeway there and cut in front of me (I was at freeway speed) and proceeded to drive at about 75-80 to the Oregon exit. Then a large utility type truck entered the freeway, traveling about 70, and exiting on San Antonio!
Where is the enforcement? Aren't fines doubled in construction areas?

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

Yeah, I think there needs to be a way to make everyone passing through slow down in this region.
I was southbound on 101 yesterday from Palo Alto and exiting onto Hwy 85 and was suprised as the lanes were suddenly extremely hard to discern and confusing. Colors of pavement vs. the temporary lane marks. Drivers will have to slow down and look carefully to see the lanes. I expect they will keep rejiggering them and this will contribute to surprises.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

Here's the construction plan:

Web Link

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Posted by yo
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm


"if cars don't let you merge, there's no place to go. . ."

While I sympathize with you, the law is that the merging driver *must* yield the right of way to those on the highway. The vehicle on the road being merged into *always* has the right of way. This puts the onus on the merging driver to not put herself or himself in the position where there is "no place to go. . ." The merging driver will always be at fault in this situation, if they cause an accident while merging.

Unfortunately, 101 has many short merges. But that doesn't relieve the merging driver of their responsibility.

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Posted by Blue Airport shuttles often speed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

The blue Airport shuttle drivers are scary, as are the SFO cab drivers, notice the speeding airport shuttles next time you see one!

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It would be nice if those shuttle and taxi drivers would learn to use their BLINKERS.

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Posted by Carrie
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I am wondering what company it was on the airport shuttle van. If it is SuperShuttle, I have good experiences with them here, but less then good on the east coast on the airport pickup, including dangerous driving and unnecessary out of the way driving when they could have easily dropped off as much as an hour earlier.

I am also concerned with the high degree of tailgaters there are here in general which increase the likelihood of accidents.
I don't understand the need to be right behind me when I'm sitting at a red light! This needs to be addressed more aggressively by the traffic control police.

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Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

One of the reasons that I moved out of the Bay Area and still don't like to drive there is that there are too many people on the road, they all seem to be in a hurry, and they don't seem to care how closely they follow me and whether they could stop if I had to stop quickly. In this case, it sounds like the driver of the car behind the van just wasn't paying attention and didn't slow down as the van did. On the phone? Oblivious? Who knows......Way too many people going too fast, talking on the phone, eating, ten feet behing the car in front of them, believing that the law doesn't apply to them.


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Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

@Neighbor: Thanks for the Web Link about the reason for the construction. I was late for a very important appointment because it took me 20 minutes creeping along on Oregon to actually get onto 101 on May 10. I didn't really know what was going on!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Suzanne
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

My parents were in the shuttle van and now at Stanford hospital. If there were any witnesses let me know.


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm

So sorry to learn of this accident. The area of 101 is now extremely dangerous, given the now unsafe access ramps and unclear lane striping. this is the worst condition of 101 I've seen in 40 years here.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm


I'm so sorry about your parents, and will think good thoughts for their swift recovery.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on May 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

What are "auxiliary lanes"?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Cur Mudgeon might I remind you that the speed posted before construction was at 65. So why were you driving in the right lane at 75-80 when the right lane is for slower vehicles and used of entering and exiting the freeway?
The current speed is 55 due to the construction.
Please I beg you.... Don't drive above posted limit for everyone's safety.

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Posted by Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Correction.. Sorry Cur Mudgeon.. I think missed something.... It was the other guy who was driving way over the speed limit. I would have been afraid too.

Please Everyone!!! Lets all be extra careful and patient with each other while our highway is under construction!!

 +   Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on May 20, 2012 at 12:23 am

Would anybody be surprised that the driver that did not notice the slowing down of the shuttle ahead of him or her was talking on a cell phone or texting?

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