News

Man lying down on University Avenue hit by truck

A bread truck hit a man who was lying in the middle of University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto at 2:29 a.m. Wednesday morning, police reported.

Ralph Ortiz, 53, of San Jose walked into the westbound lane of the 300 block of University Avenue and lay down behind a cement planter box that someone had pushed into the middle of the street, a male witness told police.

Police Lt. Sandra Brown said the witness reported that Ortiz appeared to drink a beer in front of the Medallion Rug Gallery, then walked into the street and lay against the planter box, hidden from view of the oncoming van driver.

The witness tried to warn the van driver that a man was lying in the road, but the van crashed into the cement box and ran over Ortiz, Brown said.

Police do not know who pushed the box into the street but assume it was Ortiz, Brown said. He was taken to Stanford Medical Center with head injuries and was in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, communicating with his doctors, she said.

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There is no indication that Ortiz was attempting suicide, Brown said. Police have not determined whether the man is homeless, she said.

The van driver was not injured.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Man lying down on University Avenue hit by truck

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Thu, Nov 4, 2010, 9:42 am

A bread truck hit a man who was lying in the middle of University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto at 2:29 a.m. Wednesday morning, police reported.

Ralph Ortiz, 53, of San Jose walked into the westbound lane of the 300 block of University Avenue and lay down behind a cement planter box that someone had pushed into the middle of the street, a male witness told police.

Police Lt. Sandra Brown said the witness reported that Ortiz appeared to drink a beer in front of the Medallion Rug Gallery, then walked into the street and lay against the planter box, hidden from view of the oncoming van driver.

The witness tried to warn the van driver that a man was lying in the road, but the van crashed into the cement box and ran over Ortiz, Brown said.

Police do not know who pushed the box into the street but assume it was Ortiz, Brown said. He was taken to Stanford Medical Center with head injuries and was in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, communicating with his doctors, she said.

There is no indication that Ortiz was attempting suicide, Brown said. Police have not determined whether the man is homeless, she said.

The van driver was not injured.

Comments

Ada
Midtown
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:33 am
Ada, Midtown
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

I am sure lawyers are already calling him with offers to sue the bread delivery company!


Jared Bernstein
Professorville
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:35 am
Jared Bernstein, Professorville
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:35 am

only one name this time. Some readers may know the bread delivery driver. Does the driver have name? Which company is delivering at 2:30am?


Don't name bread truck driver
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:42 am
Don't name bread truck driver, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

I think the bread truck driver's name should not be posted in this forum. Hitting someone you can't see is a significant hardship in of itself without having his or her name plastered on the Internet.

It's not clear, though, why the driver did not stop to avoid hitting the planter box, though.


robit noops
Greenmeadow
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:04 am
robit noops, Greenmeadow
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:04 am

Too many mentally unstable people around University Ave. I have seen some of the same homeless slightly crazy people for 20-30 years. University ave is not a safe place.


angry citizen
Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:53 am
angry citizen, Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

Some one should sue the victim ! If a lawyer takes the case, he/she should be disbarred, the lawyers will get more than the victim ! This
is definately a nuisance case.. When are people going to accountable
for their own actions, drunk or not ! We cannot protect people from themselves and we shouldn't. Leave the delivery truck driver and his
company alone ! They will be the victims of a unneccessary lawsuit &
not the homeless person. Jared Berstein wants the name of the driver, why, who knows. If he was driving the delivery truck & hit this person would he want his named splattered all of the internet ?
I bet not..!! Jared, go do something really dumb, so we can read about you !!!


Maria
Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm
Maria, Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm


This seems to be the one drunken guys who walks up and down University Ave with a beer can in a paper bag and harasses women and businesses. I've called the police on this person many times, and he always back and about. He doesn't seem to be homeless but plainly an alcoholic.


Arch Conservative
Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Arch Conservative, Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm

University Avenue runs North and South.


Paul
Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Paul, Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Many of these guys on University are veterans who, having outlived their usefulness, have been tossed in the dumpster by the society they once bravely (and naively) served.


whhy
Charleston Meadows
on Nov 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm
whhy, Charleston Meadows
on Nov 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

why is jared bernstein so nosy?


BBR
Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm
BBR, Menlo Park
on Nov 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Oh boy.... Poor bread truck delivery person and his company. So sorry you had to be involved in this farce. I agree... any lawyer involved should be suing the drunkard. You know, it just doesn't make common sense to stick up for an idiot who decides to sit in the road when it's dark out in the wee hours. Please don't blame it on veterans... I know some good ones.... some ones who went because they didn't have a college excuse, etc. Yes, they have problems with flashbacks and their conscience, but those who are out in the streets as drunkards... well, please make no excuses for them. They chose that option. I doubt it's a veteran anyway. They wouldn't be that stupid.


James
Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:12 am
James, Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

<Too many mentally unstable people around University Ave. I have seen some of the same homeless slightly crazy people for 20-30 years. University ave is not a safe place.

I agree. My family and I do not visit downtown after 5pm. Mt. View downtown is much safer.


Paul
Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:59 am
Paul, Downtown North
on Nov 5, 2010 at 9:59 am

"University ave is not a safe place."

Gosh, I've lived there for many years and have had zero trouble. Have you tried to get to know these used-up outcasts?


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