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Palo Alto woman, dog struck by hit-and-run driver

Original post made on Jan 30, 2013

A 53-year-old Palo Alto woman and her dog were struck by a hit-and-run driver on Friday, Jan. 25, and Palo Alto police are seeking information about the driver's whereabouts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 9:46 AM

Comments (45)

Posted by A citezen, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

Maybe they are connected. The driver may have been frustrated by the back up that I am assuming was on Embarcadero and bypassing it by cutting through the neighborhood. I used to commute that every morning and evening on a bike and saw it all the time.

Posted by lights, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:35 am

Anyone else think that street lights in Palo Alto are way too dim, especially near crosswalks? If car drivers don't see the pedestrians from half a block away, they are likely to run the stop signs, which appears to be what happened in this case. Brighter street lights would greatly improve pedestrian safety.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

Someone REALLY needs to get our traffic director out of his office and onto to Embarcadero and make him sit at Town & Country watching the fruits of his labor. People are SO frustrated with the backups that they're doing all sorts of dumb things.

All I have to do is mention traffic problems and people groan and say, "Oh yea. Town & Country's a disaster."

Maybe the reporter could do a story on that??

Posted by Member, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

Both recent accidents occurred after dark. Please remind pedestrians to wear clothing or items that reflect. It is difficult enough to see someone walking so wearing light colored clothes or reflectors would bw wise

Posted by John Galt, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

Dang, another drive by pedestrian assault! When is someone going to do something about those assault vehicles!

Posted by anotherone, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

What would be helpful would be to make it so that all cars are stopped when pedestrians are crossing the road. At many of our intersections with crosswalks, cars are permitted to go while a pedestrian is crossing. While most drivers are courteous and wait for the pedestrian to cross, many do not. Additionally if the driver is at all distracted, there is a chance that they will not see the pedestrian. While making all cars stop while a pedestrian crosses will not stop all of these incidences, I bet it would cut down on many of them. Since something similar happened to me (my dog and I were struck while crossing at a crosswalk by a distracted driver- luckily not badly injured), I know that if the cars were kept at red lights, my accident most likely would never have occurred.

Posted by Jan, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:21 am

Maybe you will have to have a lottery ticket pulled from a dispensary machine to walk after dark. Far too many accidents/pedestrians.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

California and Louis intersection has pretty good visibility ... seldom are parked cars blocking the view. Visibility near downtown is terrible. Cars don't slow down until they are poking out in the intersection far enough that the driver can see. At 8pm there isn't much traffic. Either the driven didn't see or was way too aggressive.

The Palo Alto police will give tickets to cars entering an intersection when a pedestrian is in the crosswalk. Too many pedestrians use this and walk when the light is red preventing cars from getting through even if they have a green light ... the car's not going forward, I'll slowly walk across even if the light is red.

Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

This happened before, when there was an uptick in the Valley's economy. Newly minted millionaires, upgrading their vehicles from four banger Kia's to more powerful cars, are racing around Palo Alto like it's their private race track. Add to that, the amount of people still texting behind the wheel, and it's a sure recipe for disaster. Of course, the pedestrians should use more caution as well. When I was a kid, I was taught to cross the street quickly, looking both ways, not stroll leisurely while reading my cell phone as if I had all the time in the world. Just this morning, a woman did exactly that, while reading her phone, never looking up...I, of course, slowed, and as this happened, her friend, who had thought better of crossing when she saw a car coming (and I was the only car on the street), after stepping back onto the curb, suddenly decided that she too, needed to cross at just that moment, and darted out halfway across the street, then strolled the rest of the way, looking me in the eye. Mind you, there was no one behind me, no one coming. Pedestrians need to stop being so complacent and drivers need to stop speeding and messing around on their cell phones.

Posted by DT Walker, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

Certainly not blaming the victims here, I live downtown and like to take advantage and walk a lot, just putting it out there that in general "pay attention people!" Nearly every night I see a pedestrian walking in black clothing at night and many hardly pay attention, either on the phone or just asserting their pedestrian right of way. Many bikes too. Fine to assert your right of way if you want to live on the edge, but the reality is that even those of us who try to pay attention all the time may for some reason not see you, many intersections have parked cars or trees which create blind spots. You look left, right, left, right and somehow when you go there is a bike or person who came out of nowhere. It happens. The reality is in car vs. pedestrian or bike it isn't going to go well and while we all hope the person in the car will see everything as pedestrians or cyclists we need to take some personal responsibility for our survival as well! I just generally assume the car hasn't seen me if I don't make eye contact. It is after all easier to stop when you're walking. Be safe out there!

Posted by Mimi Wolf, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 11:49 am

Crossing the street on foot (anywhere on our city streets) and riding a bicycle is a death wish. Even though I walk my dog 2x/day and bicycle to work, I accept the fact that it is only a matter of time before I meet my fate. I encourage pedestrians and cyclists to wear bright colored clothing. At intersections, if I cannot make eye contact with the driver I wait for them to move on before crossing. Do not expect the driver to obey the law.

Posted by Sick of it, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I have been sideswiped once, and hit broadside once, while bikeriding. Both times I had the right of way. The first one injured my wrist, but no big deal. The second one messed up my lower leg and wrecked my bike, and the driver took off. Then, two years ago, I was sideswiped by a driver on his cell phone. I was forced Into a parked car and injured my elbow and forearm, as well as damaging my handlebars, yet the driver was oblivious and kept going! All three times, the cars in question were Mercedes
, but the last one took the cake: a V-12, no less, with no license plates! AND, the driver ran through a stop sign and made an illegal left turn after hitting me!

Not only is there too much traffic, the attitude of many drivers, especially the newly minted billionaires, is that their destination has priority and to hell with anyone who slows them down or gets in their way. They also seem to think the traffic laws do not apply to them because they are above the law.

I hate to say it, but the driver of the third car was a well-known billionaire, I followed him to his house, and he refused to get out of his car and acknowledge me. The first two were, sadly, Chinese nationals who had very little actual driving experience and should not have been allowed behind the wheel of a big, powerful vehicle.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Because of the close call my dog friend and I had walking west across Bret Harte at its intersection with Embarcadero yesterday (2:00 in the afternoon!) --

Henceforth, I will be committing a Glamour magazine fashion don't by wearing my neon orange high-visibility T-shirt any time I get near one of these nasty streets.

I would make the dog wear it, but that would be borderline animal abuse.

Posted by anecdote annie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm

The posting by Sick of it sounds like a gross exaggeration or a fantasy by a well known poster.

She claims the first two incidents involved Chinese nationals who very little actual driving experience> if they took off how does she know where they are from and what their driving experience was???

In the third case the claim is that the driver "was a well-known billionaire". Really?? you followed him home, but you did not call the police? Sounds to me that this also a fantasy encounter.

WE have enough traffic issues in this city without people making up stories about evil drivers (that do not exist)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

We have a lot of people who use our roads thinking they own them. I am talking about pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, drivers, skateboarders and anyone else who uses the road.

It is about being safe, not being right. Look before you cross, look at road conditions, wear light colored clothes and do not have earbuds or phones. When it comes to safety, we all have to look after our own safety and be alert on the streets.

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm

"A high influx of pedestrians" sounds like a South Park episode.

And I'd like to know the extent of the dog victim's injuries.

Posted by don't blame the victim, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I can't believe all the people blaming the victim in this case. The car had a stop sign right? The pedestrian was in a crosswalk. What else do you expect her to do?

In most of these car-vs-pedestrian crashes (don't call them accidents), the pedestrian is more than half way across the street when they get nailed. Car drivers will typically look for pedestrians on their right before they run a stop sign, but often ignore the pedestrian in the middle of the street on their left.

Of course, if car drivers actually came to full stops at stop signs and paid attention before starting again, the vast majority of these crashes could be avoided.

Posted by Mom of 3, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Pretty sure this was directly related to the pedestrian fatality on Embarcadero.

They closed Embaracadero, and drivers were diverted into the section of Seale Ave around Newell/Mark Twain/Bret Harte. Seale deadends about a block after Bret Harte. That evening after the accident there was a constant stream of cars coming down Seale, then after being frustrated that Seale deadends, they all proceeded quickly down Barbara Dr, and turned left on North California. The intersection where this woman and her dog were hit is just after that left turn onto North California.

So, yes, normally very light traffic. On that particular night, at that particular time, there was a constant stream of frustrated drivers.

Posted by Disgusting, but expected, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Sickening behavior of entitled Palo Alto drivers here. A hit and run and they are blaming traffic design. Hit and run!...HIT...AND...RUN.
Someone tell me how road design made this person flee the scene?
No wonder there is so much disgust for you drivers by the rest of the area rational driving public

Posted by Barbara, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm

No one has hit on the real issue behind the speeding, side-swiping, etc. - think ANGER! Can't believe the number of angry, violent people behind the wheel, cycling, and walking. . . and it's getting worse!! Anyone see a solution to this problem??

Posted by Thinking ahead, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm

And ABAG, Association of Bay Area Governments, insists each city add thousands more residential units everywhere, bringing multi-thousands of more pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and school students.

The above happens while city councils agree to narrow roadways & freeways, namely, El Camino Real (that Mountain View City Council envisions as a "walkable" highway) and other major freeways, like Hwy 101.

Note: Tiny three-block long California Avenue that dead ends at Alma needed a road diet. But El Camino Real that goes from San Jose to San Franicsco? Hwy 101? Let's get real. In this area, people drive.

Posted by sweeney, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

On a different note and in response to T&C...everytime i go to Town and Country there is always some frkn lunatic running thru the stopsign in front of Peets coffee. Mark my word, something horrible is going to happen in front entrance of T& C. Drivers are maniacs there.

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

That California Ave, Louis Rd and Greer Rd area is plagued by cut through traffic. That particular intersection is also notorious for stop sign running. Wherever I walk, bike or drive in Palo Alto these days, I observe reckless and angry driving, progressively resembling Los Angles area driving at its worse. Walking the dog after dark is beginning to feel like a potentially suicidal endeavor.

Cell phone usage while driving, including texting, is rampant, despite the laws against it.

Some genius on the board discussing the Friday night death of a pedestrian on Embarcadero suggested that cars are the lifeline of the Palo Alto economy and any attempt to curb driving in the city would collapse our economy. Not dealing with our traffic disaster would collapse the city.

Posted by not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Punish, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

We really need to start actively yanking drivers licenses.
If ANYTHING is causing someone to react in a dangerous manner in a car, they do not deserve to have a license. Plain and simple they do not have the mental capabilities to hold a license.
This includes people who are "Frustrated" and "Angry". If you cannot control your emotions and "act out" in your car, you simple do not have the the tools needed to be a safe driver.

Posted by EviL Annie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Miss Anecdote: I got a good look at all three. Two were caught and prosecuted. the rich one was eventually caught, and had to pay my medical expenses, etc, as the second one did also. One of my injuries is still visible, if you would like to see.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Posted by moi, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, 3 hours ago

Because of the close call my dog friend and I had walking west across Bret Harte at its intersection with Embarcadero yesterday (2:00 in the afternoon!) --

Henceforth, I will be committing a Glamour magazine fashion don't by wearing my neon orange high-visibility T-shirt any time I get near one of these nasty streets.

I would make the dog wear it, but that would be borderline animal abuse.
I like the way you roll, moi. I'll keep an eye out for your T-shirt!

Any update if the dog was injured? Good thoughts to them both.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

A prime source of driver frustration in PA is the seemingly unplanned street closures due to resurfacing or underground street utility repair. Large parts of a neighborhood may be simultaneously closed to traffic, causing back-tracking and detours. Too, several neighboring areas may be simultaneously closed off.

Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Jan 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Yanking driver's licenses will only cause more unlicensed drivers on the roads.

Posted by anecdote annie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by daniel , a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 30, 2013 at 5:03 pm

if cars are the life blood of Palo Alto than the Universe is 5000 years old. Of course not all drivers in Palo Alto run red lights and stop signs or text while they drive or don't realize what the turn signal is for. Far too many do, and they endanger everybody: pedestrians, other drivers and cyclists. I have friends from LA visit and they said that after experiencing the Palo Alto traffic they'll never complain again about the way Los Angeles drivers drive. Of course many cyclists ride in a reckless way but a cyclist is infinitesimally less dangerous to others than even a very small car, let alone a heavy SUV or pickup truck.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 6:02 pm

As the street lighting is dim-which is fine-no one wants wants street lights blasting into their bedrooms at night.

Therefore pedestrians and cyclists should use bright flashlights and reflective gear at night-particularly in the Winter.

A significant hazard is cyclists rising down the California Ave underpass at speed-they are real pests

The sign says " Walk Your Bikes " but they never do-Police should enforce the ordinaces

A few $ 1000 fines for cyclists disobeying ordinances-running through red lights and stop signs will support pedestrian safety-day and night

-and protect motorists from malicious spurious claims by irresponsible cyclists who get hit when the do no obey the law

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Daniel-- looks the editors are deleting my respectful responses to your comments.. Any way suggesting that all drivers are wrong and comparing our drivers to those in LA does nothing to address the proble. Suggesting that palo alto will be car free is a non-starter. Cars are the life blood of palo alto.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Palo Alto's daytime population is typically estimated ay 125,000, or about twice the number of residents. So if you consider those 60,000 commuters, plus the majority of residents who get in a car and drive somewhere every day, I think it is pretty fair to say the cars are the life blood of the city.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Thank you, mr recycle. Some people live in some kind of fantasy world where everyone livngin palo alto and everyone coming into palo alto will walk, ride a bike or take (non existent) public transportation. In this utopia cars will be banned from the city because drivers are evil, texting while driving, stop sign/ red light running, killers of pedestrians and bikers.
Cars are the life blood of the city and our economy depends on dependable access to the city. Try banning cars and the most vocal opponents will the residents of this city

Posted by MustTakeTime, DrivingWell, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Hope that the dog is ok And the person seems ok, but it shouldn't have this crash like this.
Drive Right!
People need to think about their driving, not everything else!
If you injure a person you will be in jail or put out money.

Posted by Tis an issue, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:24 am

Rich or not, NO ONE is above the law. Chinese national or not, NO ONE is above the law!!! New driver or not, NO ONE is above the law!!

The police need to help in this also. ten years ago my husband complained to PAPD about the scofflaws running stop signs in our neighborhood in particular and PA in general. They immediately got to him to tell him that there was no problem with stop sign running in Palo Alto, because they had staked out several intersections to see.
Yeah, right!

Posted by Kay Pu, a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Did they get a plate number or vehicle description?

Posted by qwasad, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 1, 2013 at 1:02 am

between the young people driving recklessly and shootings by angry aging men, why bother even leaving the house unprepared to die every day? [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] i often wonder if car drivers should be forced to wear helmets, as required by professional driving standards.

Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

People are increasingly frustrated by all the traffic tie-ups. Let the Transportation Department fix the traffic light timing and the mess on Embarcadero and Oregon.

Pretty soon they're going to backed up to Peoria. Get out of the office and look at what you've wrought around Town & Country and elsewhere.

Cars are NOT going away. Deal with reality, not wishful thinking.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Ja Ann, frustration is not justification for running into a woman and dog and driving away. That happened in the middle of a residential area at 8:14 at night, when traffic is not tied up anywhere. Also, Oregon is an expressway operated by the County, not the City. They have a plan to re-do all the intersections, but they don't have the money.

Posted by member, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

The dog a 70 pound German Shepard is fine. Now she wears a reflective vest to go out walking. There is no excuse for hit and run.

Posted by Smack Down, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm


What's all this mamby pamby sniveling about being "Frustrated" or "Angry"...because of what? long lights? lots of traffic on narrow roads?...good lord, there's reason to run people over and leave.
Do you need a tissue?
Use it like a grown up and then control your vehicle responsibly despite these terrible frustrations affecting you poor poor people.

Posted by mamajawa, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I solved my frustration with the Town & Country lack of parking and impossible exit situation.....I don't go there any more.

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