Worker killed, another injured when driver veers off U.S. 101 | News | Palo Alto Online |


Worker killed, another injured when driver veers off U.S. 101

East Palo Alto man transported to Stanford with major injuries

A 24-year-old worker who was killed Tuesday morning when a car veered off U.S. 101 near Marsh Road was part of a nine-person crew associated with the Job Train nonprofit program in Menlo Park, which helps people develop job skills. The crew was picking up litter along the right shoulder.

The worker was identified as Mark Santos, 24, of San Mateo, the California Highway Patrol said. Another worker, Jimmie Lee Ballard, 63, of East Palo Alto, was severely injured and is being treated at Stanford Hospital, the CHP said.

JobTrain issued this statement: "We are shocked and saddened about the tragic accident that took place this morning on Highway 101. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those involved and we will be working to provide counseling and support."

The driver, Dee Di Benedetto, 38, of San Jose, was taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, CHP Officer Art Montiel said.

She was driving a black Mercedes that veered off southbound U.S. 101 south of Woodside Road for unknown reasons, Officer Montiel said. The crash was reported at 11:05 a.m. Mr. Santos was pronounced dead at the scene.

The collision is under investigation. Witnesses are asked to contact Officer H. Barker at 369-6261.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

This sad story made a mess for SB traffic for most of the day yesterday. I needed to be in RWC for an appointment and saw the standstill traffic and checked before my return trip. I came home via Middlefield Road and probably made the right decision.

In this technological age, we need to vamp up the sources of getting bad traffic to those who need the info. We must get some better apps for local traffic info as well as major roadways. We must be able to get news to prevent people from joining highways before they get stuck in this traffic. There is no point in entering a highway and immediately getting stuck, particularly if there is no way of knowing how far the gridlock will be.

This is another downside of Bay Area traffic, when there is congestion there is no overall way to get the information to those who need to hear it.

Condolences to those who were involved, sounds like the driver may have had a medical situation too.

Like this comment
Posted by Tragic
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:20 am

Smartphone was probably the culprit.

Like this comment
Posted by Tragic
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:24 am

According to the San Jose Mercury News: "As she approached the Mercedes, the female driver was 'convulsing, like having a seizure," Sanchez said.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

Ouch. That is sad. I've been hearing extensive public service ads on the radio advising motorists to watch for Caltrans workers on the highways. I always cringe when I see them out there with wild vehicles blasting by. But I've only seen litter crews on weekend early mornings (volunteered once years ago on 280 between Page Mill and Alpine, a walk in the park compared to 101).

@Resident, before hitting the road, I listen to traffic on the eights on KCBS (every ten minutes). Most major tie-ups are phoned in pretty quickly by drivers. Another example of crowd-sourcing. I expect cars will be talking to each other in the not too distant future.

Like this comment
Posted by Wazer
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

Very sad news. My heart goes out to the family of that worker.

CalTran should restrict their working hours to off hours. 101 is a dangerous route. As a major freeway, it is poorly engineered in so many places.

@Resident I used the Waze app to navigate around the traffic yesterday. You can set it up like a GPS and it gives very accurate traffic info. You can check all the routes before you leave and select the one with the least delay.

Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

KP is a registered user.

So sad.
Job Train is a great vocational training program. This guy was getting trained to get into the workforce and be a productive citizen. I am truly sad for his family.

We have attended the Annual Breakfast of Champions. It is very informative - the best part is getting to meet the people who are training for different careers or are graduating the program...They are all so proud of themselves. It puts a smile on your face.

Like this comment
Posted by Crystal Sanchez
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 6, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I was one of the two witnessed that pulled over. I also initiated the 911 phone call at 11:05am. I am a registered nurse who pulled over to help when I saw the Mercedes veer from the second to last left lane all the way past the shoulder. I laid on my horn to get the workers attention because no one was paying attention to oncoming traffic. I checked Mr. santos for a pulse and it was weak and thready. The driver was violently convulsing so I went to her aid. She came to as soon as I opened her door and I told her not to move and that help was on the way. The other gentleman was injured but able to speak so I instructed him not to move and for the other coworkers to continue to talk to him. Meanwhile another male and myself initiated CPR on Mr. Santos. With the way the body was lying, he had many non-life sustaining injuries. We continuously did compressions for 7 minutes until help arrived. As soon as the firemen got there we hooked him up to the AED and he was in "pulseless electrical activity" with a heart rate of around 20 so he was pronounced dead. It was a tragic event and my heart goes out to all the other victims. As I told them before I left, please teach out to those around you, seek help, do not keep this inside, talk to others, don't let this be your downfall. It was a tragic loss that could have been more tragic so be thankful that it was not.

Like this comment
Posted by local
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2014 at 7:14 am

@Crystal, that must have been scary to see it all happening, and corageous of you to help. Very sad story

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