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No charges for teacher who hit girl with car in 2011

Original post made on Apr 30, 2012

An East Palo Alto schoolteacher who accidentally struck and killed a 6-year-old girl in a crosswalk last year will not be charged with a crime, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office announced Monday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 30, 2012, 11:34 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by blame the victim, a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 30, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Are they blaming the family for the death of their child?

Not filing charges makes no sense to me. A child in a crosswalk was killed in broad daylight. How can the driver not be at fault? Not paying attention to the street is no excuse.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I did not witness the scene and I have sympathy for the victim's family and for the driver.

Please teach your young children not to run ahead and into the road. A child of six should be crossing with an adult. A child of six should not make a decision about whether an intersection or crosswalk is safe. Cars cannot stop in 0 seconds if a child runs out of nowhere and a child of six is smaller than a parked car which may be blocking the view of the sidewalk.

There is no blame in this accident and I am not blaming anyone. I just want us all to learn from it.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Blaming the victim - they're not charging the driver w/a crime, but that doesn't mean it was the kid's fault or her family's. It means that it wasn't a criminal act. The family can sue civily.


Posted by JustMe, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

It was certainly a tragety that the little girl was killed. But are you saying that, because a child died, someone MUST be found culpible and punished severely.

I have to assume that the people who found the teacher to be not at fault had much better information about the facts of this case and the laws regarding it than we do, and I choose not to try to second-guess them based on inadaquate facts or emotion. I don't think anyhting positive can come our of punishing someone who, it sounds like did nothng wrong. I also think that everyone close to this tragety is probably punishing themselves far more than we could.

Unless you have information none of the rest of us have, I think the best thing to do is offer condolances and support to everyone and not try to drum up a vigilante action.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I agree with JustMe. This is a horrible accident, a horrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to the family. But sometimes things are just that, an accident. Given the public pressure to charge her, I'm guessing that their conclusion was only reached after very careful consideration of the facts, eyewitness accounts, etc.


Posted by Raymond Lucas, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2012 at 7:04 am

I believe the Suns glare was a factor. Turning right from Bay Rd. would be facing the rising sun.


Posted by Shine, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

I'm not religious for the most part, but I think we should all pray that Sioreli is in Love's warm embrace, and honor her by holding our childrens' hands more often, including in transit.

Peace, Sioreli.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 1, 2012 at 8:32 am

The amazing thing is that EPA STILL does not think that a stop sign is needed at this intersection!!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

No, Palo Alto Mom, many of us in EPA want a stop sign there. The city gov't comae to that conclusion based on an professional report. From the traffic problems in PA, you should well understand that it's not easy getting certain areas of dangerous traffic improved, in large part because of how bad the drivers are, not because of the logistics themselves.


Posted by Gordon, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

I understood that California law is that a vehicle cannot enter a cross-walk if a pedestrian is in the cross-walk. Seems to me the rest of the family was in the cross-walk, and therefore no car should enter the crosswalk. Also, vehicular manslaughter would be appropriate, unless the child darted unexpectedly from nowhere making it near impossible to miss the child. I am really disappointed in this finding. Makes my careful driving habits of not entering a crosswalk while there is a pedestrian in it seem anti-social; blocking traffic awaiting everyone to exit. The DA would want me to rush through as quickly as possible so I don't block traffic? Or maybe he just wants me to be able to get to work faster?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Hmmm - Sorry, I should have been clearer. The City does not think a stop sign is needed even though one child died and another was in a body cast. Kids safety should come first.


Posted by EPA Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

At that time of year at that time of the morning going that direction on that street the sun's glare is significant. That and with the fact that the child was a little bit ahead of the rest of her family, I'm sure the driver didn't even see her until she hit her. A tragic accident but no criminal actions.


Posted by Slow down and LOOK, pedestrians must do the same., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 1, 2012 at 4:28 pm

If sun glare limits visibility, the driver is required BY LAW to SLOW DOWN and drive within the limits of visibilty. See

V C Section 22350 Basic Speed Law
Basic Speed Law
22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Amended Ch. 252, Stats. 1963. Effective September 20, 1963.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Palo Alto Mom - I totally agree w/you. I am not sure what's going to happen at that intersection - why not just put up a stop sign, for pity's sake? Once in that vicinity, I pepper sprayed a woman because she got out of her car at a stop sign & confronted me for honking at her a few blocks back. As she reached in through my open car window, I sprayed her & then took off. I notified the police, but they just shrugged it off & said I was w/in my rights to protect myself. And why did I honk? She'd flown through a previous stop sign on that street & nearly sideswiped me. If I hadn't honked, I would've been toast. I avoid that street whenever possible - people hate driving the speed limit on a long avenue w/stop signs & so many other cars & pedestrians.


Posted by DDee, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Agree with Gordon and Slow Down...

Not sure what vehicle code the DA was working from, but the one I studied to get my drivers license give the pedestrian the right of way in marked crosswalks; makes it the driver's responsibility to be in constant control of the vehicle and proceed only as fast as safety allows. Also, at that time of the day it would be LOGICAL to EXPECT chiuldren crossing on their way toward the school, which is more reason to charge manslauighter. I also seem to remember something about the driver texting or doing something that took her attention from the road momentarily. If so, and she did it while approaching a known and marked crosswalk, my goodness, then what would it take to be the direct cause of an accidental death (which is what manslaughter is)? We are not talking pre-meditation and intent, but we are talking criminal negligence!
No wonder it has become exceedingly more dangerous to drive on the peninsula than it used to be. No one knows, let alone applies the laws!


Posted by Angel, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Although a child was killed... and many of us feel for what the family may be going thru and will continue to go thru ...not ever seeing their little girl anymore....there are laws that need to be followed when presenting a case to bring charges against any person . and we may not ALL agree with this but there isn't much that can be done...instead of going around stating how unfair this may be.... the residents should get together and come up with some suggestions that will help everyone that crosses any street. I've seen when the cross guards are assisting the kids crossing the street and cars are NOT respecting the cross guards AT ALL...!!!!


Posted by Shelly, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm

You guys are forgetting other events that happened that day which might have influenced this sad accident. A previous accident had things in the area in a slight turmoil. The police did nothing to direct trafic and there might have been distractions that contributed to this sad event.


Posted by Mandy Lynn Hopkins, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

On November 12, 2011 my 9 year old daughter Julianna was crossing at a stop sign, walking her bike, wearing a helmet with her 6 year old sister at her side and other children in the area on their way to school. She was hit by a woman in an SUV, She died of blunt force trauma and a severed spinal cord. The vehicle went completely over her body dragging her bike with it. I have not seen the drivers entire statement but facts that are known is that she was arguing with her children in the back seat, and she was uninsured at the time of the accident, in fact she provided insurance to the police that did not belong to her, she cites sun glare as a factor and the D.A has so far chosen not to pursue criminal charges. I am not a hateful or vindictive person but this type of accident can NOT be acceptable. My daughter and the little girl in this family deserved to live their full lives, these children were not in the wrong, and someone has to stand up and accept responsibility for what is happening all to frequently in California and all over the United States. Just because these children no longer have a voice does not mean they do not deserve to be heard. It is not about INTENT, or revenge or hate It is simply about right and wrong.


Posted by EPA abuse, a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 29, 2012 at 10:58 am

The reason there are no stop signs at many intersectons in East Palo Alto is because the COUNTY wants to have free flowing traffic through these areas; so that commuters can get to work efficiently.
EPA is, and always has been, literally, a conduit for traffic flow, and relief, for Bay Area commuters and MAJOR congestion would ocurr if restrictions, such as stop signs, were applied.
When you look at surrounding suburban areas, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, etc, you will see traffic blockades put in place by these cities because the families of these neighborhoods demanded they be installed to stop commuters for this very reason. Safety was a bonus factor.
East Palo Alto "might be" complicit in the "reason" because EPA businesses do benefit from the huge traffic influx that would disappear if non-commuter traffic was impacted by stop sign and blockade type restrictions.
In other words EPA and the County have to decide whether it's worth the "trouble" to heavily impact their economic status, though very important, by adopting safer intersection policies.
I think safety is more important.


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