News


Menlo Park update: Boy in critical but stable condition

No charges for driver at this time

A 6-year-old boy is fighting for his life after a warm fall afternoon turned dangerous when a car jumped a curb, trapping him and his twin brother against the wall next to Walgreen's on Santa Cruz Avenue on Thursday (Oct. 17).

Menlo Park police said that as of Friday morning, the boy had survived several hours of surgery and was in critical but stable condition at Stanford Hospital. His twin was relatively unscathed.

The twins are first-graders at Oak Knoll School in Menlo Park.

The driver, a 90-year-old Woodside resident, was in a silver 2012 BMW SUV, according to witnesses.

Adam Creeger, 18, said he heard a noise behind him and turned around to see the car and one boy pinned against the wall.

"Everyone was in a panic," Mr. Creeger said.

Bystanders worked to get the car off the child for several minutes until Roy Thiele-Sardina, who heard the accident while lunching at Bistro Vida, jumped into the BMW and put it in neutral to back the car away.

"I was in the restaurant, about 20 feet away," Mr. Thiele-Sardina said. "We hear this tremendous crash. I mean loud. It didn't move the building, but felt like it did."

After racing outside with the restaurant owner, Ali Elsafy, the men saw the arm of one boy sticking up between the SUV and the wall, with his horrified nanny standing nearby, "losing her mind."

"People were screaming at (the driver) to back up the car. He was just in shock; he wasn't even moving," Mr. Thiele-Sardina said. Bystanders finally coaxed the elderly man out of the SUV. "He literally could not stand."

Mr. Elsafy, described as "the hero in this whole thing," rounded up people to help move the SUV. After the car backed away they discovered the other twin had fallen to the ground.

The driver asked for his walker, and then made a phone call. He offered no comment on what had happened, Mr. Thiele-Sardina said.

A police officer arrived within minutes.

The SUV had an intact windshield and no airbag deployed, according to one witness.

Investigators closed the eastbound lane of the 600 block of Santa Cruz Avenue as they continued to gather information following the accident, which occurred at 2:17 p.m., well into the evening.

The driver has not been charged at this point, according to Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini, as he was licensed and not under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

In traffic collisions, absent any death associated with negligence or impaired driving, the only crime that has occurred is an infraction, he explained, typically the result of violating a vehicle law. Police officers may not legally issue tickets for infractions that they do not witness; in those cases it will be up to the district attorney to decide whether to proceed with charges.

The driver could be charged with an infraction for driving on the sidewalk if he is found to be at fault, Cmdr. Bertini said.

"In any event, when the investigation is concluded we will be sending the report to the district attorney for review for the infraction violation, in which the punishment can only be a fine. But also be aware, if the driver is found at fault he would be civilly liable and could and would probably be sued in civil court," he said.

California does not have separate licensing standards for senior drivers, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, but instead looks at every driver's mental and physical ability to comply with traffic laws.

Police ask that witnesses call 330-6300.

Almanac staff writer Dave Boyce contributed to this report.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by best wishes
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Best wishes to the boys and their families. The police press release says injuries are possibly life-threatening.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ashish
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm

How very sad. We need much more frequent driver testing for the elderly. Several times I've contacted the CHP to report elderly MPK drivers who seemed completely unaware of their surroundings - and were obviously unsafe to drive a 5,000 lb car in traffic and among pedestrians. I myself was hit by an 88-year-old who completely ignored a red light. Unsafe drivers should not get "one free kill" before they are pulled from the road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amelia
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Oct 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

My classmates were downtown when this happened. I think we will all feel a little less safe tonight in our beds. I hope that these boys recover, and live a full life, but I certainly think there will be less kids downtown for the next week or so. The best wishes from everyone at Hillview go out to these boys and their parents.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

I was having lunch at Vida Bistro. And was the person that got in the car and put it in Neutral to allow the bystanders to push the car off the child.

The driver required a walker to stand, and simply should NOT have been driving. He did not have the physical capability to control that vehicle.....

My prayers go out to the family of the injured child, and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm

SUVs are difficult for many American adults to drive safely. In addition, SUVs cause more injuries when they hit pedestrians. We really should require special more advanced drivers licenses for vehicles above a certain size or weight. That license should require a stricter test and regular re-tests, for drivers of all ages.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Parent

That was the "small" BMW SUV, and weighs less than most mini-vans. So a test for a "weight" of vehicle would not have helped. Unless you want every soccer mom to get a special license to drive their mini-van too.....

I know the AARP has always lobbied against it, but a mandatory annual driving test for everyone over a certain age would reduce these types of accidents.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I would be in favor of advanced drivers tests for vans as well. The high seating position and large blind spots make these a big hazard to pedestrians, especially in school zones where the kids are often shorter than windshield level. Why did America give up on station wagons? Don't tell me that vans are more cool looking than station wagons.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hillview kid
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Very sad. I was downtown today and I can't believe this happened. Heart goes out to the family and kids. In my opinion, elderly people after 80-85 should be taken off the road. Things like this will happen less.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

This is a sad and tragic accident and I truly hope the injured child makes a quick and full recovery.

While I agree that there should be more frequent testing of elderly drivers, these kinds of accidents are actually pretty rare. Teen drivers, drunk drivers, unlicensed drivers and chronic speeders are on our roads in far greater numbers than the elderly and causing far greater damage every single day.


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Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

The sidewalks are always jammed on Thursdays because of early dismissal. Very upsetting to hear about this and I hope both boys recover. And that all the kids who witnessed the accident are able to get to sleep tonight.

Not all 80-year-olds are bad drivers, but it would be beneficial to test more often, maybe starting at 75. That said, I recently ran into my 90-year-old neighbor at that same drugstore. She was stocking up on everything she might need over the next few months out of fear that she was on the verge of losing her license for medical reasons. Taking away cars for arbitrary reasons, like age, isn't the answer either. Maybe it's time for Uber to expand to the peninsula.

I hope that by the time I'm 90, no one has to drive any more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña - thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Frederick
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I saw this driver moments before he apparently got into the vehicle. I was shocked to find out the man I had just seen had actually been driving anything more powerful than a wheelchair.

Roy is absolutely correct: this guy could barely stand up, even with a walker. He shuffled rather than walked, and he shuffled slowly. He had difficulty moving 10 feet.

I can not believe anyone who saw him move the way I did would believe he was capable of driving.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by menlo park dad
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña: thanks for thinking fast and acting fast!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susannah Hill
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

What an awful incident. I hope those children recover quickly.

Thank you, Roy, for your quick action.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm

See also:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Christina Holmes
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Sending prayers to the injured children, particularly the one who is critically injured. Our children are all very concerned for the welfare of the injured. If anyone has news it would be appreciated.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer G
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Today as I drove past Santa Cruz Ave and saw all the police commotion in the back of my mind I wondered if a car had hit someone. I was saddened, stunned, but not surprised someone was hit by a car in downtown MP. It's terrible that it happened, let alone to two young children.
When my kids used to go downtown with their friends I would always stress being careful and very aware of the cars because of the erratic driving I had witnessed. And still do. Cars blowing through stop signs, not stopping for pedestrians, having witness other accidents etc.... and I don't believe it is simply an age issue. I have long wished there was a better way to manage the traffic downtown.
I wish everyone involved and who witnessed the accident the best.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña YOU are their Angel! Thank you for acting so fast. I pray the injured boy is going to be ok.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

The driver required a walker to stand, and simply should NOT have been driving. He did not have the physical capability to control that vehicle.....

Nothing will happen. In another thread it was stated that the bicycle lobby is even better than the NRA. But even the NRA pales in comparison to the AAA and AARP. You will pry the keys from his cold dead hands.

All we can do is pray for the young boys.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm

And Roy - bless you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm

There's a reason Menlo is nicknamed God's waiting room - the number of seniors. I was hit in a crosswalk by an oldster who SAW me & made eye contact. He had a stop sign & I didn't. I guess he was letting me know that he was aiming for me.


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Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

While I appreciate the thak you's, there were many people involved in getting that car off those children besides me, there were at 10 men pushing/heaving that car once we got it out of gear.

The scene was chaotic with LOTS of screaming. Everyone kept their cool and worked together. it takes a village and we used it today....

Roy Thiele-Sardina


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Posted by Walter Johnson
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:05 pm

These aren't complex technical problems to solve given the data we have today. The laws have changed significantly since I was a kid who got his permit at 15-1/2 and license at 16. We know immature kids get distracted.
My father, age 90, renewed his license last week. He was anxious until he found out no written test, no driving test, just a simple vision test. This is absurd.
Daily in Menlo Park some aging wonder (which will be ME soon) executes an astounding feat of blindness in front of me. Oblivious to what they did. I felt much safer living in France where everyone had to take a serious driver training course, and licences weren't handed out like happy meal prizes.
Thanks for being on top of things, Roy. I hope we can worry a little less about vague constructs like "Freedom" and "liberty" in some future elections, and decide based on common sense. A VW bug driving someone into the wall is about as bad as an SUV doing it if you're on the receiving end. There comes a time we shouldn't drive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:06 pm

As upset as I am about this accident, especially having learned who the family is, I am appalled to see so much nastiness heaped on older people. Are you all this disrespectful to your parents and grandparents?

This was one 90-year-old guy who shouldn't have been driving. No need to smear everyone 50+ (AARP demographic) because of one freak accident.

Thanks to Roy and all who jumped in to help out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Be kind to seniors
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Not all older drivers are bad drivers. I totally disagree with anyone who feels those who are 80+ automatically needs to be taken off the road. There are too many 17+ kids who are totally irresponsible and do not belong driving their parent's cars. I've seen far too many young newbies who think they are in control of the road, speeding, texting, smoking, drinking alcohol and behaving badly with whomever is in the car with them. Why do people pick on seniors so much and treat them so badly? I'd much rather talk with a senior than a young twerp.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by menlo park dad
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

To the reader (pogo) who said these incidents are rare. Maybe it isn't? Esp in the Menlo Park downtown area?

83 year old: Web Link

63 year old: Web Link

87 year old: Web Link

73 year old: Web Link

66 year old: Web Link

89 year old: Web Link

[Note: We modified this comment to allow the links to be active. -Webmaster]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm

As someone who lives in downtown Menlo Park and owns a store on Santa Cruz Ave., I both walk and drive in that area. I have almost been hit by young drivers texting, distracted Moms, business men on cell phones, etc.....while just trying to cross the street.
As a driver in that area I also know how difficult it is to navigate ... There are pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchairs, delivery trucks and cars backing up. It is very difficult. I don't know what the answer is. Maybe more police presence.... maybe no parking on Santa Cruz Ave.
Years ago a police officer named Glen Raggio used to walk up and down Santa Cruz during the day. He knew everyone on the street and he just kept an eye on everything and everybody. It was awesome. I would love for that to happen.
What happened today was a tragic accident. I hope and pray that those young children will be okay and recover.
Let's honor them by slowing down and not driving distracted tomorrow.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kelly Schmitz
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Thank you fellow community members for saving our children of Oak Knoll School today. Too often the store fronts have experienced driver impairment and as a community(a mom of two girls) we need to install safety poles/guards at the parking spots. This has happened one time to many.

A similar accident happened to Avanti Pizza on Alameda de Las Pulgas(west Menlo).
Take a moment and drive by tomorrow-there are poles installed preventing curbside accidents-a movement we need to discuss.

On a separate note, today was early dismissal for the district due to conferences. Downtown needs more elements of safety put in place...let's start with safety poles and come together to make Menlo Park downtown safe for our children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm

So, Menlo Park Dad, you found six incidents over the last 9 years involving drivers over the age of 60. Clearly we have an epidemic of bad older drivers!

Now, just for fun, let's see how many drivers under the age of 20 got involved in accidents over the same timeframe. Bet it was more than six.

I've yet to see a senior citizen texting or driving recklessly to show off to friends. But I've personally witnessed two teenaged boys, in separate and preventable incidents, total someone else's car. The older people tend to drive more slowly, but if it takes me an extra minute to get somewhere, so be it.

Drivers in general have gotten worse around here. In a hurry, cutting off other drivers, trying to assert their self importance. As the parent of a soon-to-be driver, it's mildly terrifying.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by menlo park dad
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Thursday,

I wasn't looking for older drivers when searching for menlo park accidents. Try doing a search for accidents, crosswalk, motorists in the almanac. Those are the results I found! Not trying to be biased here, but I didn't see more then six for ages 20 or younger..

Regards


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Aran
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:16 am

The problem are the diagonal parking spots. Replace them with 100% parallel parking spots. There is plenty of parking in the lots behind the stores for people who can't parallel park.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:27 am

mpd, I didn't do a very thorough search, but just typing "driver" into the search box quickly turned up all sorts of accidents, some fatal, involving drivers between the ages of 19 and 26. Joy Covey was killed by a 22-year-old driver! Or, check the police blotter. The people arrested for DUIs are rarely over the age of 40 or so.

My point is not to slam younger drivers, but I honestly don't see a lot of dangerous older drivers on the road. The reckless kids are scarier.

I agree with Aran that the parking spots are dangerous. I normally never park on Santa Cruz for that reason. If there's a big car or pickup truck next to you, you basically have to back out blind. That's not what happened here, but I expect there are a lot of minor collisions that never get reported in the newspaper.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Janie
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 2:17 am

Please don't get defensive and think "everyone" is piling on older drivers. Yes, there are many dangerous younger drivers (partly due to the state education budget that took driver training out of public high schools years ago), more things for irresponsible, immature people to be distracted by while driving, and just a lot more general carelessness and rudeness. And the elderly deteriorate physically and mentally at very different rates, so "take 'em all off the road" is not a reasonable solution, and I don't think anyone is seriously proposing that. But there are a large amount of seniors who insist on driving long after it is safe for them to do so.

Beyond a certain age, maybe 75, senior drivers should not be given a license with a 4 or 5-year term -- they should be required to renew annually, with a written test, vision test, AND a road test. Every year. No matter how inconvenient, because a decline can happen fast. It's very understandable that seniors view their cars and their driving privileges as an integral part of maintaining their independence at a time when they might really feel that self-sufficiency is on the verge of leaving them forever... but as we've all heard at one time or another: driving is not a right, it is a *privilege*. There is no good reason why senior citizens, who might become dangerous drivers through no conscious fault of their own, should be allowed to drive without proving that they can do it correctly and safely.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John D
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2013 at 7:04 am

Prayers and good thoughts for a full recovery.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

For the poster who mentioned uber - it's already available on the peninsula, all the way to south san jose.

However, this is really a symptom of a larger problem - inappropriately low density and zoning, which make it necessary to drive to the drug store.

The short term fix, to stop the "Grey Dawn" style carnage, would be to do written and road tests on every renewal starting at age 65, and make them more frequent with increasing age.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:04 am

Great Job by the Village Best of Health to the child.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Murphy
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:06 am

The call isn't for pulling the licenses of older drivers, it's for rigorous testing of older drivers. Surely there would be no backlash from the DMV picking on incompetent drivers who can't pass a re-test.

The number of incidents involving younger drivers is higher than that for seniors because younger drivers pile on the miles. A senior who drives 10 miles a month is going to have a lower frequency of accidents than a 22 year old who drives 3000 miles a month, just from sheer repetition. But the 90 year old will probably have more accidents per mile driven.

Here is a good article about how we have designed our seniors into a situation where they are driven to keep their licenses.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karla Oliveira
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

I had just sent my 18 year old employee Adam Creeger to ACE to get some screws and he returned a few minutes later very shaken. He had said the just pulled a old man out of the driver's seat of his car that had pinned a boy to the wall and then helped move the car. This was a very terrible incident to everyone in town and my heart goes out to the mother of those boys.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

Menlo Park Dad -

Thank you for proving my point how rare these occurrences are. As Thursday pointed out, with all your searching, you found six incidents over a decade - and three of those were hardly in the category we are discussing (63, 66 and 73 years old). And not every incident you noted was even the fault of the elderly driver.

On the other hand, there have been FOUR major accidents on Middlefield Road IN THE PAST SIX WEEKS - one resulting in a death. I personally witnessed one of those accidents where two unlicensed drivers, one with several children in her car without seat belts collided in a horrific accident. These drivers can cause more damage in an afternoon than all of your elderly involved accidents did in an entire decade.

I never said elderly drivers aren't a problem or shouldn't be tested. Quite the opposite, in fact. My point is to focus on a far bigger problem that impacts hundreds of people every single day. The amount of damage done by drunk, unlicensed, speeding, uninsured, texting drivers is huge... especially compared with the occasional oldster who stupidly continues to drive when they shouldn't.

Pay attention to the big stuff.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

Is the driver being charged with a crime, or is it legal to run over children on a sidewalk if you're over a certain age? I assume he was arrested...??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Willows resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:05 am

Lots of comments here ranging from taking licenses away from the elderly to young drivers are even worse. How about we all just take a breath and consider our vehicles as dangerous but necessary tools for modern life which must be operated with care and caution at all times by people of any age? We will never take "risk" out of life.

BTW, the thread about SUVs and station wagons was simply asinine. So if this elderly man who should not have been driving ANY vehicle (as judged by the multiple descriptions of his physical state) were driving a station wagon, this wouldn't have occurred? Puhleeeeze.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy Brundage, Almanac Staff Writer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:07 am

No charges for the driver at this time. We've updated our story with more information about that as well as the boy's condition.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:14 am

Sounds as though this driver has not been charged, and my own aforementioned experience with teen drivers (not my own!) is that they often don't even get hit with an infraction. As one who once got a ticket for allegedly failing to come to complete stop at a stop sign, I would rather see young drivers held to higher than lower standards.

There was also an incident that you won't find in the Almanac because the family had enough influence to squash it. A few years ago, a high school athlete hurrying to a game inexplicably decided to detour through the Encinal parking lot, lost control of the car, and plowed into the school. Fortunately, the timing was such that no students were in his way, but the damage remained for weeks as a reminder to the rest of us.

In another case where the teen driver also caused thousands of dollars of damage but miraculously did not injure anyone (though many students were around)the police flat out said "we're not going to give him a ticket -- he apologized."


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Posted by parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

Unless the driver was proveably impaired (drunk or history of similar incidents), the DA will not likely prosecute. "I didn't see him" won't work in this case, of course. The driver will probably claim "I hit the gas pedal by mistake" and the DA will let it go.


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Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

This makes me absolutely sick. GET ELDERLY PEOPLE OFF THE ROAD PEOPLE!!!! Do you know how many times in downtown Menlo alone I've almost been hit? Countless.

If you have elderly relatives, please do the right thing and take their keys from them. The state obviously isn't going to stop them from driving so it's up to you to cut them off. How would you feel if it was your parent/relative that did this and you could have prevented it?


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Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm

My thoughts are with the boys for a speedy recovery.

Many seniors suffer from the gas/brake inversion disease. One such "accident" should mean that their driver's license is permanently revoked.


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Posted by Arthur
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

God speed to the young brothers.
As a downtown resident with two teens I always worry and discourage my daughter from riding her bike in the area.
I think that hurdles that are limiting the arrival and use of self driving cars need to be reduced or eliminated. The technology seems to be here but our bureaucracy is slowing it down. Imagine what a relief it would be to older drivers...and pedestrians.


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Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Our community should be judged by how we treat the weakest among us, especially the children and the older people. This is a good community - and something like this hurts us. Similar to most everyone my thoughts are with the boys and their family as well as for the driver and his family.

As was pointed out, more than a few young drivers make some serious driving mistakes, many soccer/lacrosse moms get distracted while driving, many people text while driving and cause accidents, and some older drivers also make serious driving mistakes. Before too many generalizations are made about a group, let's allow the authorities get the facts on this specific situation.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Prayers for the children and their family, kudos to the bystanders who rallied to help, shame to the driver.

Please, DMV, no more long term renewals for 80 year olds or the obviously physically impaired. Please, they must pass the vision & written tests + a road test, every 2 years. My uncle failed his written test at age 88, so my mother coached him non-stop for 3 days & sent him back to get his license renewed. I know another 80 year old who just got renewed without a driving test. I know a woman with MS who drives a normal car without any additional features for her disability. She gets a handicapped parking tag, but the spasticity of movements and inability to control her limbs, caused by her disease, make her a poor & dangerous driver. She just got a license renewal in the mail so she's good for another 4 years. Her friends won't ride with her so watch out for a white Prius driven by a woman with very permed brown hair.


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Posted by kandl
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I don't think it's enough to say, "This is just an accident." Every serious accident should be a chance to learn ways to avoid future tragedies. I saw the driver; as many other witnesses said, he could barely shuffle with a walker. He appeared to have no idea of what to do after he hit the boys. No sane person could think that he should have been operating any sort of vehicle. Some 90-year-olds may be perfectly capable of driving safely, but most people over the age of 80 will have some impairments to vision, hearing, movement, reflexes, or judgement that will render them less fit to drive than most younger adults. Frequent testing--of vision, hearing, and the actual ability to drive--of those over age 75 seems warranted in the interest of public safety. And SUVs are different than smaller vehicles: they have poorer visibility, they are more difficult to maneuver, their area of impact is higher (so instead of crushing someone's legs, they will crush someone's body or even head, or hit a car above its protective bumper), and of course they take up more space, are heavier (and thus harder to move, as we saw in this accident), use more resources to make, and use more fuel to run. In the early '90s, when SUVs were becoming popular, I saw a TV interview with one of their original designers. He said that SUVs were designed for people who wanted to "win" in a collision. His own words, which I'll never forget, were, "These are killing machines." Let's all think of what we can do to prevent terrible accidents like this from happening again.


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Posted by GH
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm

In his late 80's my father refused to relinquish his car keys following two minor fender-benders within six months. I ended up putting a Kryptonite bike lock on his steering wheel and removed the rotor from his distributor cap. He still persevered, nearly cutting through the lock with a hacksaw. On one regular visit the hood on his car was up and he was charging the battery. When asked why the hood was up he said the battery was dead--after attempting to start the car on no fewer than 100 occasions. The lesson is: this generation which came from horse and buggy to the automobile will not willingly forfeit their freedom to roam behind the wheel on rubber tires.

Those closest to the impaired elderly driver MUST intervene with determination--whether a child, neighbor or caretaker. The DMV will not police the elderly's ability to safely operate an automobile.

The solution possibly lies with the insurance industry. They are the ones who need to cancel insurance on drivers over a certain age so that this insanity stops. Then there's a ready excuse to take away the keys or impound the vehicle.

As a baby boomer I join the millions of others graduating over the next few decades into this abyss. May Google and others perfect the driver-less car within the next decade!


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Posted by Karen
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

The article says that "The driver could be charged with an infraction for driving on the sidewalk if he is found to be at fault, Cmdr. Bertini said."

It seems to me that an additional infraction that would apply in this case is "V C Section 21070 Public Offense Unsafe Operation of Motor Vehicle

"Public Offense: Unsafe Operation of Motor Vehicle

"21070. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a driver who violates any provision of this division, that is punishable as an infraction, and as a result of that violation proximately causes bodily injury or great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, to another person is guilty of the public offense of unsafe operation of a motor vehicle with bodily injury or great bodily injury. That violation is punishable as an infraction pursuant to Section 42001.19.

"Added Sec. 3, Ch. 898, Stats. 2006. Effective January 1, 2007."

(See Web Link)

Sadly, the fines for causing bodily injury are pathetically small:

"V C Section 42001.19 Unsafe Operation of Motor Vehicle

"Unsafe Operation of Motor Vehicle

"42001.19. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted of a violation of Section 21070 is punishable, as follows:

"(a) For a violation involving bodily injury, by a fine of seventy dollars ($70).

"(b) For a violation involving great bodily injury, as defined in Section 12022.7 of the Penal Code, by a fine of ninety-five dollars ($95).

"Added Sec. 5, Ch. 898, Stats. 2006. Effective January 1, 2007."

(See Web Link) .

I sure hope that these fines will be increased someday. What do you all think?


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Posted by local twin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I'm saddened by the amount of bashing back and forth. It says so much about our community. The bottom line is that THIS DRIVER should not have been driving and that his lack of admission (and what about his family?) on this issue of his poor driving led to this accident happening. My mother gave up her license voluntarily because of poor peripheral vision. A gracious act that has burdened her movements but saved an innocent party and herself from potential harm.
As a twin, I cannot imagine for a moment losing my twin and my heart goes out to these boys for a quick and full recovery.
Perhaps instead of turning on each other and arguing as you all are doing we can just focus on the real harm done which was to the little boys and just pray for them.


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Posted by In the Neighborhood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with this family.
And I'd like to join the others who've expressed gratitude to Ali and Roy for staying calm and focused in this crisis and doing all they could to save the boy's life. We can be very proud of them, and of all the bystanders who helped to free the child from the car.

But why all this callous bashing of the elderly? People never stop being individuals. Have you forgotten about all the elderly statesmen, professors, musicians, Nobel Laureates, etc.--brilliant people who go on strong and clear into their 80s and 90s. Wanna take their cars away from them?
Wanna take people's licenses away at 75 years? You might have to start with Governor Jerry Brown's. Regardless of what you think of Brown, if 75-yr-olds are menaces who can't be trusted to drive a car, they sure couldn't be trusted to hold political office.

And what about the poor fellow who accidentally drove onto the sidewalk. No compassion for him? For all we know, he had a long and productive career, was a kind husband and father, and an upstanding member of the community for many decades. Imagine what a nightmare this is for him as well. It was, after all, an accident.

One commenter erroneously observed that the "solution" to this tragic but rare sort of accident is to make our downtown even more crowded, with high-density buildings, presumably so that an old man like this could live downtown and walk to stores. Oops! Since he could only walk 10 feet, this means he'd have to have an apartment in Walgreen's parking lot to make it to the drugstore. But then he'd be too far from Draegers... In addition to the patent absurdity of that argument, more crowding always leads to more accidents of one sort or another as more people jostle around in the same space.

There is one thing and one thing only that could have prevented this tragic accident, and that is: a family member or paid caregiver should have been looking after this 90-year-old man. Someone should have driven him to the store to get what he needed, or gotten it for him.


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Posted by Menlo Park pedestrian
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

As a pedestrian in Menlo Park, the drivers down here are dangerous. It is usually the older drivers or the soccer moms on their cell phones that pose the worst danger. Also on at least 10 different occasions in the last 6 years I have witnessed older drivers in expensive cars side swiping other cars in parking lots. I then took the license number of those cars and description and left a note on the damaged car for the owner. Nine of those owners called me to thank me and tell me the results (we are talking major damage on these cars). In almost every situation the driver claims not to have noticed (huh?) and then pays the owner of the car out of pocket as not to go through the insurance companies. No reports filed, driver goes on to damage more cars or possibly not notice when they kill someone.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

@ In the Neighborhood:

No one is "bashing" the elderly. Of course there've been many social contributions from people who have become elderly, but Manhattanites, Bostonians, and other urban dwellers don't drive. Most of them don't want to pay the $1000 a month for garage storage & use cabs & town cars. Please don't compare unlike situations. Menlo Park has a small, crowded downtown which provides services for residents of neighboring 'burbs which don't have many commercial facilities. This area lacks decent public transportation, so people drive.

The point is that terrible injury occurred to a small child due to an accident caused by a physically impaired driver of very advanced years who perhaps should not have been licensed to operate a motor vehicle. The only way to determine his, or anyone else's, capability to drive is by frequent testing at the DMV. Yearly? Biannually? Regularly & frequently in any case for all drivers above a certain age.

I hope this man is down on his knees with everyone else in town praying for these children and immediately voluntarily surrenders his vehicle & license. Only takes 1 "accident" to take a life. If he feels such remorse, he'll never drive again.


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Posted by Heard It
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm

There should be posts or some kind of barrier that block vehicles from going on the sidewalks. This has happened on Santa Cruz avenue, Town and Country Village, Alameda de las Pulgas by Starbucks, etc. When will the cities learn to block cars who can accidentally drive onto pedestrians on sidewalks?


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I completely agree with all the above comments about the dangers of walking & driving in downtown Menlo. Years ago, in order to fit more cars at the curb than parallel parking allows, the City changed to diagonal parking. To "beautify", the corners got bump-out planters. Cross streets aren't symmetrical across Santa Cruz & lots of drivers don't know how to properly use a 2 way left turn lane. Some people think it's the fast lane. We all see it, along with unsafe U turns, with the worst being across S.C. from Left Bank - nothing like watching idiots cut from the curb, crossing in front of cars observing the stop signs at that corner so he doesn't have to go around the block to get back to El Camino.

Menlo Could help. Restore parallel parking & eliminate the diagonal. A driver who is not in an suv or van cannot see safely around the van, suv, or giant pick-up diagonally parked on the right to see oncoming traffic while back out of a space. I never park my regular sedan to the left of any oversized vehicle but sometimes one shows up while I'm shopping. I don't sit outside at Vida or Left Bank or any of the others because I've seen too many curb-jumps.

Better yet, maybe it's time to eliminate any parking on Santa Cruz. With no car parking, there'd be room for bike lanes and maybe the skateboarders would stay off the sidewalks. The next big issue will be when a boarder seriously injures a pedestrian. I was knocked down once by a gang of 3 kids boarding, 2 abreast but fortunately I didn't get seriously injured. Might not be so lucky next time.

Many people will protest loudly, but making Santa Cruz into a pedestrian only mall isn't a bad idea either. Unless we can reduce the hazards to pedestrians caused by vehicles, it'll happen some day.


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Posted by katherine
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and nanny for these young boys. And thank you to the angels (Roy, Ali Elsafy and others) who helped to free the young victims. I think we all reach an age when we should NOT be driving. I'm sympathetic to elderly drivers...driving to wherever one wants when one wants is a "symbol" of freedom and independence. My mother, at 90, is frustrated that she doesn't have her "independence" --- I tell her she can go wherever she wants and whenever, she just now has a "driver."


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Posted by George
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

The crosswalks on Santa Cruz Avenue aren't safe either. People are hidden by those large pillars at the sides of the crossings. The first a driver sees of the pedestrian is after they pedestrian has stepped out onto the crosswalk. I know Santa Cruz Avenue and am aware of the possibility of people, especially the elderly and children, stepping out blindly, so I'm super careful. However, those not familiar with this hazard could easily get in an accident.

SUVs, even small ones, position a driver in such a way that's it does hinder visibility somewhat.


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Posted by Patty
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

My heart goes out to those children and their Family. Such a sad event, on such a beautiful day.
I think Downtown needs to have some kind of traffic accessment made. I grew up in Los Altos and our downtown used to have erratic drivers, people who never stopped or paid any attention to all of the pedestrians at all. One year they had the police officers stand on the corners of almost every intersection and hand out tickets/violations for wreckless driving and not stopping for pedestians, etc. I think it is high time this is done in Menlo Park. I almost never go to downtown because as others have stated people drive crazy. Maybe speed bumps and a police presence now and again might help. While this would not have prevented this tragic event, it may help with traffic safety.


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Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

I agree with In the Neighborhood. One accident, and all residents over 40 (or whatever some of you consider "old") should surrender their licenses?
Is anyone posting here not getting older? How would you like to be treated in 30 or 40 or 50 years? I don't see anyone trying to get BMW drivers off the road as a result of this(and in my opinion, they are the most aggressive, least considerate of all!)

I like the idea of removing parking from Santa Cruz, but it's come up before and it will never happen. The downtown merchants would have a fit. Similarly, I can't see police standing on Santa Cruz chastising drivers. Even if residents complain that traffic is the biggest problem in town, even if it's a safety issue, patrolling the streets is beneath our police force.


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Posted by Kathy Janz
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

As a nurse, mother and the owner of a home care agency that works with seniors, I can offer a few solutions. If a senior does not have someone to take that to the stores and does not want to use a home care agency or a private hire caregiver, they can use ReadiWheels (Outreach in Santa Clara County). Although there are difficulties with predicting pick up times when arranging transportation when going to large Medical Centers where one may be sent for another test or have a long wait, the paratransit systems work very well for church,shopping,hair dresser, Little House and other defined time activities. There is also Yellow Cab and other taxi services. There are so many seniors in Menlo Park that the town might want to explore some private van type services that private/public financed. In the meantime, I have noticed that many of the "senior accidents" have occurred in diagonal parking areas. I remember a few at Town and Country Village, several on Santa Cruz avenue and even one years when a car drove at least ten feet into a Pet Grooming shop on Fifth Ave in the unincorporated area. This might be worth researching on-line for studies of parking accidents. The switch from diagonal to parallel parking would have some costs but would be more readily tolerated than prohibiting parking on Santa Cruz Avenue. For seniors and those who have significant neuropathies from diabetes and other issues that impair lower leg sensation as well as visual,decision making and medical problems it may be time to give up the wheel. I am seeing more doctors reporting that their patients should not be driving to the DMV. But all of us need to be more careful. My prayers are with the family of the boy who was so seriously injured and with the senior who I am sure had no idea that he would ever be in such a situation. He does not need to be charged with any crime, he just eeds to stop driving immediately.


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Posted by Mike M.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with the boys and the family. Cannot imagine their anguish and pain. Much gratitude to Ali, Roy and others at the scene, doing all possible to urgently assist.

Saw links to several instances of similar situations in our town alone. Thanks on that research.

Hope council seriously considers solutions to reduce chance of this re-occurring in our future. My own father (deceased) had a later life accident, following an atypical lapse in judgement. At the time he was later '70's, alert and aware with good vision, under no influences.

In Dad's instance, he became quadriplegic. One instance in time... impacted & affected many, many people. Not only those physically injured; their families, children, friends and beyond. Dad felt absolutely terrible about what happened from his error in judgement; every day which remained, for the duration of his life, he would often mention his regrets during morning bowel/ bladder care. Time requirements for family members were extreme.

Especially for those injured prior—in interest of preventing future recurrences—might council consider changes/improvements? Might there be functional yet reasonably attractive barriers, so to better protect pedestrians? Perhaps a heavy rebar fortified short wall, with ivy or low vegetation on top? Caltrans and other agencies likely have a myriad of suggestions. My understanding is when someone is seriously injured at an intersection, evaluations occur as to crosswalk improvement, light installation, etc. Seems same should occur for our downtown, given several instances of injury during only the past decade.

This travesty could have been avoided with prior allocation of planning & allocation of dollars, making a difference in the lives of dozens, if not hundreds impacted. We all recognize our community might have a greater percentage of individuals whom might, statistically, be more prone to errors in judgement behind the wheel. Seniors, parents, children, visitors and businesses will all benefit at some point in their future, with pedestrian safety improvements.

This instance of so, so much pain—lives changed forever—should & could have been a noisy moment in time, startled pedestrians, a damaged wall or other useful barrier AHEAD OF THE SIDEWALK, perhaps a subsequent property damage claim ONLY.

Again, thoughts and prayers.


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Posted by Public Servant
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Thanks Justin Kinder for acting as a rescuer by helping to move the car away from the two twin boys. You are an unsung hero!


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Posted by Automotive Forensic Analyst
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

To all those who have posted comments to this story: I have been investigating a variety of automotive failures (both real and imagined) for more than 25 years. I have examined more than 300 vehicles involved in crashes due to unwanted or unintended acceleration events.

I am not involved in investigating this incident and know little beyond what has been reported in the papers (although I fear that this gentleman may be a friend of my fathers).

The governments of both the US and Canada have conducted separate investigations into the phenomenon referred to as sudden acceleration incidents (SAIs). Most of these incidents occur at low speed and often during initial gear selection and startup. Many occur when one first believes that they are in a gear opposite the direction they are actually in. They occur virtually only in vehicles with automatic transmissions. The phenomenon is slightly greater represented by the elderly (as well as slightly greater represented by women). However, the incidents occur throughout the age, gender, education and profession spectra. A much more significant factor is that they often occur in vehicles that are new to their drivers; usually less than 6 months and often less than 3 months. Frequently, a husband or wife who is not the "normal" driver of the vehicle may have the event occur to them.

When these events occur, the outcomes are sometimes tragic. Rarely are pedestrian/auto crashes anything else. I certainly do hope that this young boy is able to make a full and complete recovery.

What I can offer is this, the event was unintentional and without malice. It was an accident, and therefore, not a criminal event. Civil liability (that which a court awards from the driver to the victim) will often be a different matter (and do we really care how much the State is rewarded for the event, anyway).

As to the issue of the elderly continuing to drive: I think we all realize how tricky and delicate a situation this is to discuss with our own parents when the time comes. Sometimes the situation and the solution are obvious, but more often the degradation of driving skill is a gradual process that provides no definitive demarcation.

This is more a societal question and, as we see by the variety of comments, there are no easy answers. Some elders will appreciate the interest and concern while others will interpret it as a sign of invalidation. It is after all, difficult to get around this society without wheels.


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Posted by Fool Proof
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I've read through the posts on this forum. I concur with everyone that this is a tragic event. As a society, I think we all yearn for a way to "fix" this problem. We want to prevent it from happening again.

There have been many suggestions. They range from stripping elders and teens of their driving privilege to erecting barriers.

Certainly, increased testing will revoke licenses of those unfit to drive. But, people will continue to drive regardless of their license status. Some just don't care. Revoking the privilege is simply not a full-proof solution.

The only way to protect pedestrians on Santa Cruz Av is to install a barrier. It won't matter if a person is licenses or incapable. Their car will be unable to do damage if it can't get on to the sidewalk. The barriers need not be ugly. There are ways to make them aesthetically pleasing. The City could use concrete planters as an example.

What's certain is the community must not let this tragedy fail to prompt action. There are fixes to this problem. But they don't necessarily include summarily taking away licenses at the extremes of the population age groups.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Yo why do you, meaning Thursday, and other folk, think that requiring driving tests once you hit a certain age means we're hating on old people?

It's a 100% fact that your reaction time and overall cognitive function declines as you age, so requiring once yearly, or bi-yearly, tests for driving, especially in California, where it's incredibly easy to pass the drivers test, is not only useful, but a good idea.

Sure, it's not a criminal event, but why are we pretending like if this wasn't a teenage boy we wouldn't be crying for blood? It's disgusting to think that because someone's old we remove all sense of personal responsibility while simultaneously saying that the elderly can function perfectly fine. This kind of cognitive dissonance is why I can't take like 2/3s of these people seriously.

Good on my neighbor Roy though.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Fool Proof, yeah I guess so, but it's totally unnecessary. Yeah people without licences drive with relative frequency, but do you really believe that this type of situation would be more or less likely? It's a totally preventable situation, and I hate the fact that removing personal responsibility is what you're recommending.

Also, I don't know if you've ever heard of the idea that if you're breaking the law, don't break the law. Normally this applies to people who are high, or transporting illegal items, or what have you, but the application in this situation is that if you're driving without a license, then odds are you'd be more careful, as there's a bigger penalty to doing things like running a stop sign if you don't have a license over having one.

No rational person is saying take away licenses, but it's a kneejerk reaction, similar to gun control legislation on the backs of events like Sandy Hook.

You're 100% right, installing barriers would prevent accidents, that's not what I'm saying, but if people don't have personal responsibility to not mess up and cause these accidents in the first place, I don't think it's necessarily a solution to the problem.


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Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm

In my very first post I suggested retesting people starting at age 75 or so. I'd like to see the licensing age raised to 18 (or 21). I also wish that the driving test were a little harder to pass. There are too many really bad drivers out there. And as traffic gets worse, the accidents will increase exponentially as it becomes harder to avoid the texters and lane-drifters.

My negative comments have focused on the disrespect demonstrated by some posters toward people whose only sin is to have gotten unfashionably old. To demand that an entire demographic be forbidden to drive because a few of its members have had accidents. Many of the 80 and 90-year-olds who live among us were here in the 1940s when our city was being developed. As In the Neighborhood pointed out, the driver was quite possibly a pillar of the community at one point (didn't someone say he was a former attorney general?) It's pretty shameful to mock the venerable members of our community simply for being old. We're all heading in that direction!


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Thursday- I don't read elder-bashing here, simply a request to road test for the capacity to drive, more frequently over on those over a certain age than is done now. No one expects our revered elders to see, hear, or run as well as they did 2 or 3 decades ago. Reflexes slow. Undeniable fact. Who cares what the driver did in his active career? Not me. I care that he's physically debilitated to the extent that he can't support himself without a cane and/or walker yet still is supposed to have sufficient strength to accurately move his feet quickly from accelerator pedal to brake while steering a motor vehicle. He could be an ex Olympic athlete for all I care, but he clearly needs to hang up his key ring. There must be a system to protect the greater public from hazards of no-longer-safe drivers who don't adequately self-monitor & act responsibly.

Do whatever it takes to make Santa Cruz a safer road. Many businesses have both street and parking lot access. Will trade really suffer if people can't park right in front of stores? I doubt it. Retailers & restaurant proprietors need to step up & cooperate to make Menlo's main business street safer. If nothing else, immediately restore parallel parking. And limit the size of vehicles which may park on Santa Cruz. The parked UPS truck or long-bed pickup completely blocks the view of oncoming traffic for the driver unfortunate enough to be parked to its right side.

Redwood City made 1 block of downtown Middlefield Rd single lane and one way, with large bollards & very few spaces to park, with a 15 minute maximum. It works well. Diners eat outside, safely. It takes care of the need to drop off handicapped persons directly in front of their destinations but doesn't allow speeding. Mountain View uses planters and attractive iron fencing on Castro Street, which is pretty vibrant and has only parallel parking.

Has the child's condition improved? We fervently hope so.


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Posted by mira
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I was there when it happen and the man from the restaurant what a heart and hero he was and all the others that to push the car to release the child god bless you all


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Posted by adam
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

God bless all of you that help and this man from the restaurant you are a hero to that kid thank you and every one of you


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Posted by jay
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

PRAY FOR EVERY ONE


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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

How about testing EVERYBODY on a regular basis? I know 30-year olds who are not fit to drive and would probably fail a test, but they won't be required to take one for a long, long time.


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Posted by mom x many
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

My prayers go out to all of the people involved ....all of there live's were changed in one micro second.
I pray and wish the boys a speedy recovery and a complete and full future......and their family to recover from this tragedy, I cant begin o imagine ....how you feel!
I pray for the senior - who I am sure feels just awful, ...... and probably shouldn't be permitted to drive in his condition, not necessarily his age.
That being said, there are drivers of all ages about town that most certainly should not be licensed anywhere!!!


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2013 at 11:03 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is a very useful link for older drivers and their families:

Web Link

"Older Driver Safety
Warning Signs and Knowing When to Stop

Safe Senior Citizen Driving
As we age, it's normal for our driving abilities to change. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. But we do have to pay attention to any warning signs that age is interfering with our driving safety and make appropriate adjustments. Even if you find that you need to reduce your driving or give up the keys, it doesn't mean the end of your independence. Seeking alternative methods of transportation can offer health and social benefits, as well as a welcome change of pace to life."


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

Problem with that is the cost efficiency of testing everyone, unless you charge people and somehow magically make it so once daily testing won't completely screw with the fact that the DMV has horrible waiting times.

Its really easy to propose these solutions without thinking of the logistics.

Thursday, it's a little silly to say things like that. Yeah they shouldn't be disrespected, but because they're people, not because they did good stuff in the past. Yes we shouldn't mock them, but shouldn't talk to them with veneration, just respect.


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Posted by Laura Lilyquist
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 19, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Please let us install the safety poles/concrete where diagonal parking and pedestrians are present. This is not a safe combination. A car in diagonal parking can easily hit people on the sidewalk or crash into a building. Let's also consider the elimination of diagonal parking in our downtown area. The street is too narrow for diagonal parking anyway. Let's get this moving with our city council right away.


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Posted by mp neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Oct 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Does anyone know how the boys are doing? Haven't heard an update since Friday morning. Thanks.


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Posted by JCL
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Here's an update from Oak Knoll's website:

Thank you to everyone for the expressions of support for the Cadigan family. The oldest brother was not injured and returned to school on Friday. One of the younger brothers suffered a broken arm and he will be back at school on Monday. The other brother has more complicated injuries and will be out of school for an undetermined amount of time.

The family has asked us to share enough information to help the school community process the accident. The boys would like to get back to school and not be treated in any special way. Please allow the family some privacy during this time. As more time passes and we have clearer understanding of the family's needs we will reach out to you for any additional support that might be helpful.

Before school on Friday, the staff met to share information and review best supportive practices. In most classes short discussions were held to answer questions, reassure students, and give them an opportunity to express their feelings. We kept these class meetings short, developmentally appropriate, and worked to stick to our typical routines and structures. If you need any support or advice please feel free to contact Nicole Scott, school counselor, Jenny Ryan, School Psychologist, Kristen Gracia or me.


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Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Are some of you actually talking about people over 60 as "elderly" drivers? C'mon! 60s are middle age not elderly ! And no, I'm not there yet, but Geez....., really?


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Posted by Heather
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm

My prayers go out to the little boy with critical injuries as well as his family...


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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Kevin worried about the cost efficiency of testing all drivers. What is the cost of a human life? How much does our economy lose when freeways are backed up for hours over and over because of crashes? How much do we pay for emergency responders and police investigations into car crashes? Preventing crashes is much more cost-efficient than dealing with them afterwards, and it saves lives which are priceless.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 19, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Preventing crashes is much more cost-efficient than dealing with them afterwards, and it saves lives which are priceless."

Please note what has already been posted:

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
10 hours ago
Peter Carpenter is a registered user.
Here is a very useful link for older drivers and their families:

Web Link

"Older Driver Safety
Warning Signs and Knowing When to Stop

Safe Senior Citizen Driving
As we age, it's normal for our driving abilities to change. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. But we do have to pay attention to any warning signs that age is interfering with our driving safety and make appropriate adjustments. Even if you find that you need to reduce your driving or give up the keys, it doesn't mean the end of your independence. Seeking alternative methods of transportation can offer health and social benefits, as well as a welcome change of pace to life."


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Posted by Concerned grandma
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 20, 2013 at 9:04 am

Please, please give us updates often on the condition of this boy. We are all thinking of him and his family and hoping he is recovering.


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Posted by Mar
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

The back up signal on big vehicles is a beep beep beep noise. If you don't hear that you're not in back up mode. --just thinking of accident prevention.

I think Menlo Park could use some new city planning too - to make driving, bicycling and pedestrian areas safer. For one, we are more"urban" now than we want to believe (considering the number of cars coursing across town) so we should have one or two East-West multi-lane thouroughfares (starting at 101)built in a safe effective manner. Willow and Marsh road are good candidates.


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Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

Did someone say "city planning?"

If you truly want to prevent future incidents of this type, then you should advocate in favor of limiting additional development in the central part of Menlo Park. Ask your planning commissioners and council members to promote retail and other uses that serve the masses of people who are already here instead of adding hundreds of thousands of square feet of more office space. Our city also needs to stand up to state pressure to add more, more, more housing. We can barely accommodate the residents we have now!

Many Palo Altans have woken up to this problem, and that's why they are voting on Measure D, which, interestingly enough, would add more senior housing to that city...in an area where residents would have to rely on their cars.

Until there are driverless vehicles -- soon, I hope! -- we can't do anything about the masses of cars on the street now. But we can try to keep a lid on traffic growth through smarter development. More cars -> greater likelihood of accidents.


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Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

Please update this story. We walk along the streets of Menlo Park every week. My thoughts and prayers go to these boys and their family. I hope they will be okay!


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Posted by downtown housing
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Actually, it would be helpful to have more housing available for seniors downtown so they could walk to the drugstore, grocery, etc. without having to drive or get a ride. It is much more of a challenge for seniors who live further away from services and are shut in if they can't drive. The city recently zoned downtown for more housing and that will help with the needs of the aging population.


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Posted by Thursday
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I can't tell you for sure where I'm going to want to live when I'm older, but it will not be over a downtown pizza parlor or drugstore.

The driver in this particular incident relies on a walker. I have a hard time imagining that someone who is barely mobile is going to want to live upstairs over a shop (the housing zoned for downtown is all mixed use) and then spend the day using a walker to cruise Santa Cruz. Most of the aging population is still going to rely on cars. But let's just pretend that we can keep squeezing in more and more people and offices without any consequences.


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Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

What a tragedy! We are all praying for this poor 6-year old and his family.

Most of the comments here focus on the age of the driver. What we should perhaps consider though is making Santa Cruz a safer road. I travel on Santa Cruz every day, and find it to be a very dangerous road for pedestrians.

1) Currently, some of the cross streets require drivers on Santa Cruz to stop, and other don't. This inconsistency seems to catch some drivers off guard, and I routinely see drivers neglecting to stop.

2) Turning onto Santa Cruz is hazardous too. Most of the side-streets don't afford a driver good visibility of Santa Cruz, so drivers from side streets often need to creep into cross-walk areas to see where they are turning.

3) Why do we even allow cars on this portion of Santa Cruz? It really would be safer for pedestrians and more community-friendly if we just made the section of Santa Cruz that was downtown a pedestrian-only street. This is done for several block parties during the summer, and it really makes the downtown area an area worth visiting. Shops probably would not be impacted either, because most shops have a back entrance on the streets parallel to Santa Cruz.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Since the streets which cross downtown Santa Cruz Ave are zigzag (Crane, Chestnut,University) and Maloney Ln, Doyle, & Evelyn end at Santa Cruz, the stop signs and crosswalks align only on corners on the south side of Santa Cruz . A driver can turn right from southbound Chestnut or Crane & go about 1 car length before reaching a SC Ave stop sign aligned with crosswalks aligned for corners on the south side of Santa Cruz. It's confusing at times for locals & even worse for those haven't been here for decades.

I want to remove any & all parking on Santa Cruz. That would allow wide bike lanes, protected by upright metal bollards as in some nearby towns. As awkward as it will be, perhaps as an interim measure, add stop signs on SC at every corner, not just those on the south side. If that means more crosswalks, fine. It'd improve safety. As Thursday said in response earlier, some merchants will protest but that should not override safety concerns for a small downtown area where traffic has increased in far greater proportion than the population in the 40+ years I've lived & worked here.


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Posted by Cosmo
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

At this point I wouldn't be surprised if the DMV gave a drivers license to a chimp!


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Posted by BioWare Austin
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Cadigan Family- hugs, prayers and thoughts streaming your way from all of Bioware. May The Force Be With Your Son!


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Taking away parking from DT Menlo Park would likely cause a tremendous loss for the stores there. Changing the parking might work better. For example, *parallel parking could help, but might also discourage business. One safety improvement would be to limit parking on Santa Cruz to compact cars and ticket any large cars, vans or suv's -small and large. There is parking in the back of most stores which is ideal for those with larger shopping loads.

Having seen the difficulty some people with large cars have with parking and exiting parallel spaces, perhaps those spaces should also be reserved for small cars.


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