Crash victim was Stanford visiting scholar

Unidentified man had 'huge network of friends' and helped the poor, friends say

A man who died early Saturday when his car hit a tree and parked vehicle on a rain-slicked Middlefield Road was a visiting scholar at Stanford University, friends said.

The family of the man, who "had a huge network of friends," has been notified, a source said.

The Santa Clara County Coroner's Office declined to release the man's identity but said it would likely do so Tuesday.

He arrived in Palo Alto last summer and had planned to stay for eight months, a friend said, declining to name his country of origin on instructions from police.

The crash occurred Saturday morning at about 12:50 as the man, in his 20s, drove south along Middlefield Road into Palo Alto, police said.

His vehicle first struck a sign on the west side of the street, then slammed into a tree and ricocheted off a parked vehicle before coming to rest in the front yard of a home near the intersection of Middlefield Road and Hawthorne Avenue, according to police.

Will Carter, who lives on the corner of Middlefield and Hawthorne, said the car appeared to have veered from Middlefield onto Hawthorne after hitting the street sign. It then struck a tree on Hawthorne on the driver's side and spun around to face east. The car also flattened a portion of the fence in front of the house where Carter lives.

Arriving police officers found the driver, who was the vehicle's sole occupant, with what they say were serious injuries. Palo Alto fire paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Members of the Palo Alto Police Department's Specialized Traffic Accident Reconstruction team and the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office were investigating the crash.

Alcohol had not been ruled out as a factor, and police said the medical examiner's office would determine if the driver was under the influence.

A representative from the medical examiner's office said those tests would commence Monday, but that it could be several weeks before they produce a conclusion.

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Like this comment
Posted by ob
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Sounds like more than 25 MPH to me. The gradual right-hand bend from MP into PA is not the easiest, especially with lanes full of traffic. But at 1am and the pinball path it sounds like excessive speed and possible impairment were likely factors. Too bad.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I disagree. The roads were very slippery on Saturday it being the first heavy rain of the season. The legal speed limit of 25 MPH is actually quite fast so I doubt he was exceeding the speed limit at that location.

However, it is noted that he was a young man in his 20s who simply may not have had the experience to know to slow way down on our slick wet streets. A real tragedy.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I drive from my home in Community Center to play Bridge at the east end of San Antonio Road every Wednesday evening. My experience along Channing and East Bayshore the last couple of weeks has been I simply can not see the stripes that supposedly demarcate the traffic lanes. I am familiar with the route, and drive at a reasonable speed, but I don't feel comfortable driving along this route.

I could go another way, but that is not the point--this dark, rainy weather we experience now and many other years calls for markings on the streets to keep them safe under such conditions. Who knows at this point what contributed to this young man's unfortunate demise, but as one who has driven that part of Middlefield many times, it can be confusing, especially in the rain and at night.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Tragic accident--until we get the toxicology results, speed, mechanical condition of the car etc the the cause remains a mystery

Like this comment
Posted by slow down
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I think if you don't feel comfortable on a wet road at a certain speed, then you have to slow down more. The written speed limit is too fast if you can't control your car.

The police report should have an estimate of the driver's speed. Hopefully the Weekly will print that.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 21, 2010 at 1:37 am

"Tragic accident--until we get the toxicology results, speed, mechanical condition of the car etc the the cause remains a mystery"

WHAT!!??? This is PA Online! We have a sacred right to weigh in with opinion, invective, judgement, innuendo and whatever else our little fingers feel like typing.

We do have a civic image to uphold after all!

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

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