Worker, 24, killed when car veers off 101 was part of JobTrain program in Menlo Park


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 JobTrain nonprofit program in Menlo Park that 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.

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.

JobTrain issued this statement Tuesday: "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 nonprofit has had a contract with San Mateo County since 2012 to deploy work crews to assist Caltrans with roadside landscaping, according to JobTrain Executive Director Nora Sobolov. Two crews, usually consisting of eight workers and two supervisors each, go out Monday through Friday to perform weed control, litter cleanup, graffiti abatement and other tasks.

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

Almanac staff and Bay City News Service.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Was the driver on the phone???

Like this comment
Posted by Tricia Young
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm

[Portion removed. Please don't speculate on what happened.] So senseless and tragic.

Like this comment
Posted by old guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Aug 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

[Post removed. Please don't speculate on the cause of the accident.]

Like this comment
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 6, 2014 at 8:24 pm

[Post removed. Please don't speculate on what caused the accident.]

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

The driver could have had a heart attack, but we don't know do we?

Like this comment
Posted by Crystal Sanchez
a resident of Atherton: other
on Aug 7, 2014 at 12:09 am

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. During the actual incident the driver didn't react to the incident. She actually drove very at an increasing speed, completely straight, not reacting or swerving, and not breaking. Since she was convulsing as soon as the vehicle stopped and her response when I spoke to her, the incident is consistent with her having a seizure... Which I didn't tell the investigating officers. She came to as soon as I opened her door and I asked if she was ok and told her not to move, that help was on the way. Her responses were consistent with postictal behavior. Her answers were one worded and as I asked if she was ok she responded "yes" and hadn't realize she had been in an accident. There was also NO stench of alcohol, nor did I see a phone handy or in close proximity. The was another gentleman that was injured but was 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 Steve
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2014 at 1:30 am

Crystal, thank you for all the help you gave mark. He's been a friend of mine since highschool. Do you think epinephrine would've helped mark overcome PEA?

Like this comment
Posted by Crystal Sanchez
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

Crystal Sanchez is a registered user.

@steve I honestly don't think there was anything we could have done. . [Portion removed. We don't think this medical detail is appropriate for a Town Square comment.} Another man arrived on scene a few minutes after I did... He did not witness the accident but rather saw the other crew worker who had been hit laying on the ground. He was a trauma nurse for over 17 years. [Portion removed.] If you get wind of a funeral I would love to be informed. My heart goes out to his family!

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

Nobu Palo Alto eyes next-door expansion
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,355 views

Are We Really Up To This?
By Aldis Petriceks | 4 comments | 1,834 views

Couples: Cultivate Love, Gottman Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 577 views

It's contagious
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 254 views