Castilleja grad killed in bike accident
Publication Date: Friday Jul 18, 1997

COMMUNITY: Castilleja grad killed in bike accident

Swimmer who grew up in Los Altos was studying at UC Davis

A 21-year-old UC Davis senior who graduated from Castilleja School in Palo Alto in 1994 was struck and killed by a cannery truck while riding her bicycle in Davis, Calif., Wednesday.

Ellie Gerhardy, who lived in Los Altos and went to Pinewood School, was riding her bicycle near the Hunt-Wesson Cannery in Davis about 6 p.m. when she was struck by a tomato truck making a right-hand turn.

Gerhardy had a green light as she crossed Covell Boulevard on Pole Line Road, when a tractor-trailer truck next to her made a right turn onto Covell, said Davis police spokeswoman Marcia Sinclair.

The driver, 37-year-old Javier Pimentel, told police he was unaware he had hit the bicycle, Sinclair said. "He never did see her. He never realized," she said. Witnesses said the truck continued down the street and turned into the cannery. Police caught up with Pimentel at the cannery, and cited him for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

Gerhardy was given medical assistance at the accident scene, and pronounced dead at Sutter Davis Hospital about 20 minutes after the accident, Sinclair said.

Gerhardy, an avid swimmer who was on her college team, began swimming in elementary school, said her longtime friend Margie Hollister of Half Moon Bay.

Hollister and Gerhardy swam on the University Club swim team, and later the Woodside Hills Aquatics team. Gerhardy also swam for Castilleja, competing in many regional meets. Hollister said her friend, who swam freestyle and butterfly, enjoyed the competition.

Gerhardy was studying nutrition at Davis, Hollister said, and was teaching swimming lessons. She was on the swim team, as well as the water ski and snow ski teams.

"She was really good at keeping in touch through e-mail," said Hollister, who had last communicated with Gerhardy about a month ago. "She was a very giving person. She would go out of her way to help other people," said Hollister, who is a student at UC Berkeley.

Gerhardy had a "good sense of humor" and loved animals, and enjoyed going to Tahoe to water ski, her friend said.

Gerhardy's parents, Louis and Frances, recently moved to Diablo, in the East Bay. Gerhardy was the youngest of three children.

Services were pending as of press time Thursday, but they are expected to be held at Community Presbyterian Church of Danville.

--Elizabeth Darling 

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