News

Murder conviction in DUI case that killed Menlo Park couple

Marjorie Reitzell found guilty of second-degree murder in fatal crash

A woman who was driving drunk when her car struck and killed a Menlo Park couple in 2013 was convicted of murder this morning, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Marjorie Reitzell, 55, of Menlo Park was convicted by a jury of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and drunken driving charges. The jury returned the verdict at 10:30 a.m. after deliberating little more than a day, according to Mr. Wagstaffe.

With enhancements for a high blood alcohol level as well as a prior DUI conviction from 2012, Ms. Reitzell faces a potential sentence of 36 years to life in prison, Mr. Wagstaffe said.

Ms. Reitzell had been drinking heavily throughout the day, and had been in a non-injury collision earlier that day, according to the prosecution. She had stopped at a liquor store before the fatal crash occurred around 7 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2013.

Her Honda veered off Chilco Street, striking Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Kaur Singh, 45, from behind. She then drove over the median, hitting another car that carried four teenagers, before slamming into a tree.

The Singhs had been walking their dog alongside the road. They died at the scene, leaving behind three teenage children.

Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit, Mr. Wagstaffe said.

Ms. Reitzell is scheduled for sentencing on June 26.

During her trial last week, Ms. Reitzell took the stand to testify in her defense, telling the court that she is capable of driving safely while intoxicated.

Read an earlier story here.

— Sandy Brundage

Comments

8 people like this
Posted by citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

Prayers for the families.

At least this person will not be able to hurt anyone else, but I'm sure it's no consolation.


8 people like this
Posted by Shaking Head
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2015 at 11:16 am

A shame we have to wait for a death to send her to prison. Laws should throw the book at even the first DUI. But while that might affect the lightweights, prison still doesn't stop addiction.


24 people like this
Posted by Shakingmyhead2
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

During her trial last week, Ms. Reitzell took the stand to testify in her defense, telling the court that she is capable of driving safely while intoxicated.

That was her defense. Who wrote that script? Unbelievable!


25 people like this
Posted by ph is me
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 21, 2015 at 2:02 pm

as a juror in this case I was I was deeply saddened for the loss of the couple as well as astonished by her lack of remorse. she repeatedly blamed everyone else other than herself and like the report said she continued to say she has a tolerance to alcohol and can drive very well drunk


10 people like this
Posted by Pearl
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Pearl is a registered user.

Why has Ms. Reitzell been released pending her June 26th scheduled sentencing? What's to say she won't get behind the wheel again in the interim?!? I can't believe the judge let her go!!! : (


Editor's Note: Reitzell has not been released and is in custody pending sentencing.


2 people like this
Posted by typical
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 21, 2015 at 3:21 pm

[Post removed.]


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