Foothill Expressway crash victim identified

Claire Silberman, 93, killed in Wednesday crash

A Mountain View woman who died Wednesday (Sept. 14) when her car crashed into a tree has been identified as Claire Silberman, the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office said today (Sept. 15).

Police and fire officials had previously said Silberman was 78 years old, but the coroner's office today said she was 93.

Silberman died at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon after her Toyota Camry crashed into a tree on northbound Foothill Expressway, about one mile south of Arastradero Road in Palo Alto, according to Palo Alto police and fire officials.

Palo Alto Fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard said that when firefighters and paramedics arrived Silberman was suffering from a traumatic heart attack. She was unresponsive with a faint pulse.

Responders tried to extricate her while two Palo Alto paramedics started advanced life support measures, but Silberman died. She was pronounced dead at the scene before she could be extricated.

The cause of the crash, which occurred at 2:03 p.m., is unknown, police Lt. Sandra Brown said.

"There were no skid marks," Woodard said.

The Palo Alto Police Department's Special Traffic Accident Reconstruction team is investigating the collision.

Anyone with information or any witnesses to the collision are encouraged to contact the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413.

Sue Dremann

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Like this comment
Posted by janet
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

Very sad that anyone should die in such a violent way, but one has to question WHY someone 93, with heart problems, was driving. It would seem DMV is not doing their job. At least no one else was hurt.

Like this comment
Posted by age discrimination
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

Janet, there are people in their 20s and 30s who have heart problems. There are people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s who shouldn't be driving, and people in their 80s and 90s who are sharp as tacks. Please try not to judge someone's right to drive just because of age.

Like this comment
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

The law discriminates by age as to the right to drive. You have to be a certain age to get a license.

Like this comment
Posted by DT north res
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Yes there are people who are in their 80's and 90's who are "sharp as tacks" but lets be honest people - there are way more who are a menace to the rest of us. Their family has the responsibility to pull their license as we did with my grandfather back in the day. Sure he was angry for a bit but he learned how to use the bus, family and friends and came fo terms with it. Think of the guilt her family would have to add to mourning her passing if she had knocked off someone else. A cyclist, a kid darting into the road... Sharp or not reaction times are not so quick in someone that age. Automatic license renewal without review of age and health of the driver should not be the status quo at the DMV. I myself came upon someone going 45 on the fwy the other day. Sure enough very elderly woman. While she might not personally crash she could easily cause an accident doing that.

Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

We don't know that DMV didn't do their job. We don't know if she had a license. Some people continue to drive after their license has been taken away from them. I know a family who had to put a steering wheel lock on their mother's car to keep her from driving. As a person in my 60s, I do not like age discrimination about driving, esp. when I see young people weaving all over the road while texting and phoning. Frankly, I think my generation are much better drivers than most people younger than we. HOWEVER, 93 is really too old for the kind of driving required in this high-traffic, fast-driving, law-breaking urban environment. I don't care how sharp they are, reflexes, sight, and general awareness of everything in the environment does deteriorate.

Like this comment
Posted by Michael S
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Urban? Law breaking? You must be talking about the Palo Alto part of Boston, because this Palo Alto is about as suburban and law abiding as you can get. That's why she was driving car -- because it's about the only way to get around in the suburbs. If this were urban, she'd have been able to walk, take public transportation, or a cab. The poor woman was probably driving just fine until she passed out and drove off the road -- a perfect suburban death!

Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 17, 2011 at 1:12 am

I agree w/ Michael S.
I don't think of this as a "violent death" at all.
Instead, "a perfect suburban death" for all the reasons cited.
Thanks, Michael.

Like this comment
Posted by FS
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 17, 2011 at 10:23 am

What public transportation system on the peninsula did he use, DT North?
That's what I thought. It was not here but in a large urban area with a real transportation system. Maybe he could revert to a bicycle as some suggest!

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

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