News

Driver found in Palo Alto pedestrian hit-and-run

Girl, 16, was at fault, but driver could face hit-and-run charges, police say

A pedestrian/car collision with minor injuries has become a hit-and-run case when the car's driver left the scene Wednesday, police reported.

Palo Alto police have discovered the identity of the driver of a dark Lexus sedan that hit a 16-year-old Palo Alto High School student on El Camino Real near Churchill Avenue and then drove off about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Palo Alto police Sgt. Dan Ryan said.

Police tracked down the identity of the driver by using partial plate numbers Wednesday night to find the woman who left the scene.

The student was running west across El Camino Real against a red light to catch a bus, cleared three northbound lanes, but was hit by a sedan in the far southbound lane, police spokeswoman Kara Salazar said. Witnesses reported the girl was hit and rolled against the car's windshield, Salazar said.

She was examined at Stanford Hospital and suffered only minor injuries to her right elbow and left knee, police reported.

Ryan said the older woman driving the sedan stopped briefly to examine what happened, didn't see anything and drove off.

The student wasn't visible to the driver because of a bus obstructing the line of sight, Ryan said. Though the investigation found the incident to be the pedestrian's fault, officials tracked the driver down at her home and have referred the case to the district attorney for possible hit-and-run charges, Ryan said.

Ryan said police used partial license plate numbers Wednesday night to locate the driver. The female student was running west across El Camino Real against a red light (apparently to catch the bus) and cleared three northbound lanes but was hit by the sedan in the far southbound lane, Salazar reported.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by green means go
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 27, 2009 at 1:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Was the girl on a bike or walking? The article talks about a bike in the headline and also calls her a pedestrian.


Like this comment
Posted by hitting pedestrian means stop
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Well, yes, she should have known better. But the driver should have stopped. You should ALWAYS stop in a situation like this.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

OK the girl is 16 and apparently did a stupid thing by "walking" her bike against a red light. But apparently she had sense enough to become a pedestrian. But pedestrians need to leave red light running to the adult drivers. They seem to be ever improving their skills on that.

And it's getting beyond the mere "oops the light turned orange as I approached and I miscalculated". Many are just expecting cross traffic to watch out for them.

But the person (now to be arrested?) then hit her, and apparently fled the scene. Left an injured child. "A dark Lexus sedan". Can't wait for the legal/PR spin on this one.

I recently watched a very gripping movie called "Reservation Road". It has Mark Ruffaloe (sp?) and Joaquin Phoenix in it. It's about a guy who accidentally hits and kills a child, flees the scene and then it goes on from there. I'm sure we all think we'd never ever do anything like that, seems dastardly and obhorent. But this movie shows how the guy panics, flees, keeps planning to set things right, anguish, etc. I doubt it should win an academy award, but worth watching.

Well there I provided some PR spin already.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm

reading the above....so the child was running across El Camino...she had crossed all the north bound lanes as she headed west....then she was hit by a driver in the "far" southbound lane. So this driver must have had ample time to see a running child coming from his left peripheral/frontal vision.

This is kind of the "exact" opposite if the child had abruptly run out into the first northbound lane against a red light.

So the driver has been identified. The driver has been located.. A hit and run will be charged. Is someone waiting for the donut shop to close? Or is this a polite arrest befitting a Lexus sedan driver?


Like this comment
Posted by billy
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

What is the driver's name? Have the police arrested him yet or are they still looking for him? Or is the driver a woman? Why does the article give the gender and age of the victim, but not the car driver?


Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm


I drove by the scene moments after this happened yesterday. A policecar was blocking the far right southbound lane so cars had to merge to the middle lane. And it is hard to forget the young woman lying in the road while the police officer attended to her. Or seeing the very slow progress of the fire trucks and ambulance as they tried to snake through the commute traffic to get to scene. Sure, she should *not* have been running across El Camino at a red light. I am sure she has learned that lesson the hard way. But that driver had better learn his/her lesson as well. That someone would hit a person, have them roll across the windshield and then take off is really hard to take. And to all of us, PLEASE remember when you hear a siren you are supposed to pull your car to the side of the road and stop!! What if it was someone precious to you waiting for that help -- do you really have to keep moving just so you can make that green light?


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

"Ryan said the older woman driving the sedan stopped briefly to examine what happened, didn't see anything and drove off. "

Is this what the witnesses told Ryan, or is it what the driver said when she was caught?


Like this comment
Posted by Big Al
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm

A Noun Ea Mus, don't assume that just because it was the far lane, the driver should have seen the jaywalker. First of all the jaywalker was running...probably at full speed. What if the two lanes to her left were obstructed by other vehicles? maybe by a vehicle was in the southbound left turn lane? the jaywalker caused the accident. the driver committed a crime by fleeing.


Like this comment
Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 27, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I'm trying to reconcile how a driver can with a straight face claim not to see a victim that has hit their windshield. Or, did she just pull over to make sure she didn't have a dent or any blood stains on her own car and when seeing none, just drove off.

Do we have drivers that selfish in this town? I think we all know the answer to that question, unfortunately.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm

To Frank,

yes unless we have all the facts obviously a big grain of salt. I am totally willing to give the driver every benefit of every doubt....that she wasn't speeding, that the other cars stoppped and obstructed the view, that she is overall a decent person and just panicked and one bad decision led to another, etc. But to hit a child, even when it wasn't your fault, and then just drive off....

It's personally a bit weird because over the last few weeks I have been a bit in an internal trance since seeing that movie "Reservation Road". I mentioned to my wife and older kids how one can assume that one would always do the right thing, but a bit of panic and one wrong decision can then snowball and be leveraged.

But referring it to the district attorney before just going out and seizing any evidence, handcuffing the perp/suspect, etc. Imagine the perp/suspect was an EPA young black male driving not so fancy a car, not feared to have access to high quality legal resources, maybe with priors........is there any serious doubt in any sane person's mind that the law enforcement reaction would be 180 degrees from this stand back and deferral approach?

So at one end of the spectrum is that movie "Reservation Road", at another is the story by Joseph Conrad...Secret Sharer.....we don't see the distance between us and her so we see the perp as a "strong silent swimmer".


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm

OK so now the story has been updated. OLDER woman.

"Didn't see anything and then drove off". After the victim rolled up on her windshield?? Ahh what a bit of time with an attorney will get you-- as opposed to being handcuffed summarily and led away to an interrogation "NYPD Blue" style.

The spin starts now.

I've got a better one. The new sport, Parcour, is evolving such that young people are actively trying to run in front of cars and trying to then dodge the hit and run over the top of the car, jump over a few after it, like skimming stones on a pond. This "victim" just miscalculated and the only real victim is the driver.

Anyone else care be a Spin Doctor?


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by susanMD
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:38 pm

A Noun Ea Mus—

You're trying to make light of a situation that's really not a laughing matter. Please stop. Your crude jokes about bleeding, blacking out, embalming and the killing of Amy Malzbender are not appropriate, whether delivered in sarcasm or not.

Thanks!


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 27, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I am not making light of this. I actually went on the memorial bike ride for Amy and wore a purple band on my bike for quite a while.

I am aghast at the spin on this recent case and then remembered the tragedy of several years back. I recall with bitterness how that driver seemed to get off very lightly. I see history repeating itself.

My apologies if you took it as in any way joking about that tragedy.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

@ Noun: Totally out of line with the Donut Shop joke. We drove by the accident scene - there were 3 police cruisers, a fire truck and PAFD paramedic truck.

The police have nothing to do with filing charges - that's the District Attorney's job. So lighten up on the PAPD.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:14 am

It was a joke, lighten up on lightening up....

I have no doubt that the police and fire dept responded to the injured child. I also understand that it's the District Attorney's job to file the charges...

But just for a moment imagine that the car's driver had been identified as a black male living in EPA, not a Lexus. The man had "priors", go on from there. Does anyone doubt that the police would have done anything other than drive straight to that person's house and apprehend him? That is what my reference to the Donut Shop was about, not the response to the initial crime.


Like this comment
Posted by crime pays
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:56 am

Hey, they both get tickets one for jaywalking (she lucky not to be killed) and the other for hit n run, with less weight.

case closed..

next case who has been stealing my oranges from my tree.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2009 at 8:56 am

A "ticket" for hit and run? Can I beat my wife and get a ticket also?

"My Lord you ran over one of the peasants...ye must appear before his magistrate at a time of your convenience."

"with less weight"?

The original new story has been updated after people first responded to it. Also a LOT of the initial posts have been removed, but then some responses left. Ordinarily I don't like to complain about the editing or post removal, but if you are going to remove my post, the one drawing the reaction form susanMD for instance, then it seems that all the "downstream" ones should also be removed.

I understand this can be a bit like pulling out a tumor without ripping out the blood supply....but you need a sharper knife.


Like this comment
Posted by jack
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

Who wants to have the last word?! :-)


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:44 am

I've grown tired of the donut jokes (some of the other threads on this forum). These guys are willing to risk their lives for you, your family...total strangers. Yet people still want to go to the old and tired donut shop reference - either through sarcasm (in general) or to imply that the PAPD is too lazy to do their jobs properly or in a timely manner.

Yeah, they signed up to be a police officer, so the 100 year old joke is going to get used now and then. But what's wrong with showing a little more restraint and respect towards those who are out there risking their lives for you? Especially in a situation where they actually did a very good job?

Rant over, moving on.


Like this comment
Posted by Hugh
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

Deja Vu:

In a civil society, there are rules that govern behavoir, when those rules are followed, injury rarely occurs, when rules are not followed, the outcome is unpredictable and often less desirable.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

Everybody should like it when the police do a good job. But that is what they were hired to do-a good job. Just like most of us, we are employed to do a good job, not mediocre or poor jobs.

The problem is similar to grade inflation. When public employees do a good job someone almost always wants to elevate it to extraordinary status. And from there the myth grows.

Is the problem that we expect less than good performance from public employees and are surprised when it is good? Maybe time to reset our standards.

Let's acknowledge good work as just that, and save praise for really above and beyond the call of duty accomplishments. That is how they and we and most of the American workforce keep our jobs-meeting or exceeding expectations.


Like this comment
Posted by Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:26 am

My mom has a friend whose son was a PA police officer. He quit because PAs expected too much and were condescending "we pay our taxes - do your job". It's not easy to be a cop anywhere. They literally risk their lives for us. And in PA, they need a college degree. It's a job where people can be rude to them but they have to be polite back. How many people want to go to work each day with that sort of feedback?

Let's appreciate what we've got. When people become victims of crime, they are happy to see policemen.

Re, the hit-and-run, people DO panic and leave the scene. Doesn't mean they don't have a conscience.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2009 at 11:44 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I actually meant no disrespect to the police officers and understand that, being Palo Alto police officers they have to, ahem, adjust their aggressiveness to fit "the clientele". My apologies to any police officer reading this who feels offended by the Donut Shop aside. But if you are a police officer you should be a bit immune to the Donut Shop jokes, just as lawyers should be immune from lawyer jokes (some of them know and tell them all), and priests need to understand that the choir boy jokes will abound (OK not the same thing, but had to throw that in).

It may be that the truly correct procedure, for any police dept. and for any citizen so strongly suspected of being a Hit and Run per, to not go immediately arrest and incarcerate the suspect. But I have this image of a split screen TV...

One one side is this incident in Palo Alto....the police go up to the front door, long walkway, Mexican gardeners busy at work trimming and mowing, Burglar sign at door, the officers the ring bell and discuss the issue with the citizen. Her lawyer is there and answers the questions.....they go and leave it all in the hands of the DA. My people will talk to your people. The DA and her attorney make an appt. for lunch next week. The car stays in the garage. She keeps her license.

On the other screen the officers at the scene find out that the suspect is a black male living in EPA. The car is a 2005 Dodge Charger, big chrome wheels. The suspect is known to them. Let's just say that what follows diverges markedly from the above description. Can one imagine that the officers would just go have a little chat, leave the suspect and the car at the residence, refer the matter to the DA for possible dispensation? HAH!

Same crime, same injuries, different disposition.

As for...

"In a civil society, there are rules that govern behavior, when those rules are followed, injury rarely occurs, when rules are not followed, the outcome is unpredictable and often less desirable."

Are you talking about the rules as regard jaywalking? Sure a jaywalker is at risk of being hit by a car, said injury the fault of the jaywalker.

Or are you talking about the rules that govern the behavior of a person committing Hit and Run (a felony)? What injury (a ticket?) then follows?



Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Wow, I can't believe you people have SO much time on your hands to hash and rehash this story until it's practically meaningless.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Kid gloves handling here...like when that SUV driving lady hit and killed the lady in the wheelchair legally crossing a side street to Embarcadero some months ago.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm

OK, so a couple more comments here.

Does "older" also mean elderly? What is the age of the woman and is her age a factor in this.

Secondly, if we are talking about hit and run in general, it is often the case that hit and run happens because someone is DUI and by going home they are less likely to be drunk by the time they get caught, therefore they are willing to take the hit and run rather than the DUI. This is particularly relevant for a repeat offender. We don't have any evidence that this may be the case here, but it is a reason why people often don't stop - that and having no insurance or out of date tags, etc. I don't think any of these reasons are necessarily what happened here, but if we are discussing the broader issue of hit and run in general then these are pertinent points.


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by dave
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

E Noun Ea Mus. Your original posting assumed all manner of ways this went down. Then your subsequent ones further confused the event. You've mentioned several scenarios without being present at the scene or at the house when the woman was found later that same night.

I agree with susanMD. In an (apparent?) attempt to be clever, you have not helped the situation, but made it more of a side show. I'll bet you try to answer this in another attempt to make light of your comments.


Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm

And by the way? The kid will be ok. She's a nice kid, just was being a dopey 16 year old. They think they've got the wind at their heels. She received a difficult lesson.

Bottom line: if you believe you hit something, someONE, you stop, check rearview mirror traffic; hit your emergency flashers, quickly check UNDER your car and in front of it to make sure if you did hit something/one you don't do further damage, then pull over to a safe spot. Take another few minutes to scan 360 degrees to make sure you didn't miss anything, or ONE. Check under your car again for a person, thing, or damages to your vehicle. THEN and ONLY then, leave.

Seems like common sense to me. Age is no excuse. The older you are, the more you should know. There are FAR too many hit and runs out there, and holding this lady accountable on some level is really necessary to get that point across. The kid got her lesson right away, now the driver needs to understand HER complicity. They both screwed up, but leaving the scene of a hit and run is serious.


Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Dave,

My original post was also based many of the comments preceeding it (one said the injured child should get the Darwin Award, etc.). Some of them have been removed. The news account has also changed and been updated.

For instance..

"Ryan said the older woman driving the sedan stopped briefly to examine what happened, didn't see anything and drove off." Oh OKAAAY........just take her word for it, back to the Donut Shop and fill out the report. Imagine the impact of driving a Lexus Sedan and actually hitting a 16 year old. Is it even credible that one wouldn't feel anything (from a physical sense---panic and flight response maybe)?

Let's see I'm driving 100 mph on a frewway smoking a joint, got a naked 17 year old next to, but I'm in a new Lexus and look the part of an rich uber player. I'm pulled over and, "ugh officer I have a medical condition so I have a prescription for medical marijuana, my wife is in labor and this is our nanny who was taking a shower and we need her to help us at the hospital. We were in a hurry and she didn't have time to get dressed." It gets referred to the DA and I get a speeding ticket.

Enough jokes for ya?

My post which elicited the reaction from susanMD was taken down.

I can not adequately address or defend what I said previously to susanMD's post, without trying to expound on the whole thing. I wish that if the editors chose to remove my previous post then hers had been removed also. I assume you read both or wouldn't be saying any of this? Impossible to further discuss without me reposting the original.


Like this comment
Posted by YSK
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I rest my case.


Like this comment
Posted by Citizen of the World
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Citizen of the World is a registered user.

I've read the article and comments with great amusement and interest.

If this incident was a game of Poker, then the rules are ...

a "Hit & Run" (felony) > "Jaywalking" (misdemeanor)

and the consequences for each follows. No exceptions.

Also, regarding the polite "kid gloves" way the older woman was treated by the police, consider the following - innocent until proven guilty, and that the police were not entirely certain it was the driver until later. As for what happened or didn't happen, we don't have the whole story yet.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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