Mountain View examining site of fatal accident

Stop sign or lights might increase safety at crosswalk

Trees, swaying lightly in the cool breeze, line the sidewalk and median strip of California Street at its intersection with Franklin Street near the heart of downtown Mountain View. Yet, it was this street, so peaceful at the moment, that last week was the scene of a hit and run accident that left an 80-year-old Mountain View man dead and a Saratoga woman facing criminal charges.

Manuel Enos was struck at about 7:40 p.m. on July 19 by a Toyota Corolla as he crossed California, heading north from the 400 block to the 300 block of Franklin. The driver fled.

A 46-year-old woman named Keibun Son was arrested for felony hit and run later that same evening. Enos died the next day from injuries he suffered when he was hit by the car.

When reached by the Voice by phone, Son declined to comment on the accident.

"They need to do something," said a woman who lives in the 400 block of Franklin, echoing the sentiment expressed by many others on the Voice Town Square online forum. Some have complained that cars parked along California can create blind spots. Others have suggested that a stop sign be put up or flashing lights installed along the edge of the crosswalk.

The Franklin Street woman, who asked that her name not be used, said she has complained to police about the intersection, where she said accidents are common. She said that a stop sign would help prevent accidents.

Mike Fuller, public works director for the City of Mountain View, said his department reviewed the accident and determined that it was not a particularly dangerous intersection. "There's pretty good visibility," he said.

According to Fuller there are no records of pedestrian collisions at the intersection in his department's database, which goes back to 2001.

He noted that there's a warning sign, picturing a human figure crossing a crosswalk, that's clearly visible for vehicles approaching the intersection, and a "high-visibility crosswalk," painted so it looks like a giant white ladder, was installed in 2008. Fuller said some have called for a stop sign at the intersection.

"We will be reviewing the police report for the accident and we will take a look to see if additional improvements at the intersection are warranted," he said.

Another problem, said the woman on Franklin, is that in the evenings the setting sun can make driving west on California, as Son was doing at the time of the collision, very difficult. California runs nearly due east and west in either direction at its juncture with Franklin.

Fuller acknowledged that cars driving westbound on California have to deal with the setting sun. He advised drivers to use their visor, wear sunglasses and keep their windshield clean, to reduce glare as much as possible. Ultimately, he said, drivers need to "drive appropriately. If you cannot see as well as you normally can, you should probably be driving slower."

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Like this comment
Posted by rest in peace
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Rest In Peace.

Like this comment
Posted by narnia
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 8:58 am

Mr. Fuller is right when he said ""drive appropriately. If you cannot see as well as you normally can, you should probably be driving slower."

But the problem is that drivers approaching from some streets are in deep shade and therefore sun glasses or visor should not be used, because they diminish visibility under those conditions. Then, suddenly, a driver has full sun and glare, from one second to the other and can't see anything for a brief moment before adjusting to conditions. This leads to accidents that may be unavoidable if no additional measures are taken (better lighting, stop signs, etc). I do not know why this particular run over happened and what the contributory causes are (phoning or other distractions? but it's very hard to believe that Keibun Son didn't know she hit someone. Outrageously she didn't render assistance. When these matters are
sufficiently investigated, I am hoping that all appropriate charges if any are filed.

Like this comment
Posted by slow down
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

I agree about slowing down to well below the posted speed limit when conditions are not ideal. California Ave. is deceptive because the road is wide and a center median, even though it goes through a dense residential neighborhood with lots of pedestrians and cross traffic. People need to slow down and drive a speed that is appropriate for the conditions.

Like this comment
Posted by LivetoDance
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2010 at 11:43 am

Regardless of whether she was blind sided or this intersection is "dangerous" this woman left an elderly man lying in agony! What's her excuse for that? It's very sad that it is taking something like this to bring about the safety or what not of the intersection, but let's keep in mind this woman deserves some sort of punishment. Yes, it will be difficult to determine and/or assess the situation, but I sure hope something is done.

Like this comment
Posted by Thom
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Ms. Son needs to so some serious time in prison. She planned on getting away with the murder of this man. Felony hit and run isn't enough.

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

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