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24-year-old woman killed in Highway 101 crash

Original post made on Nov 23, 2012

A 24-year-old woman was killed Friday morning, Nov. 23, in a crash involving a California Highway Patrol vehicle on northbound U.S. Highway 101 and Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 23, 2012, 10:10 AM

Comments (31)

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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

News reports say that CHP cruiser was parked on the shoulder. The officer was outside of the vehicle assisting a disabled vehicle. An SUV with several passengers drove onto the shoulder and rear ended the CHP cruiser. Two people were ejected from the SUV, presumably not wearing seat belts.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

However, my recollection is that there is no shoulder on Hwy 101 near Embarcadero Road because of the Caltrans construction project. Is that correct?


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Posted by Update
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

Is is possible they were shopping since Midnight?


[Portion removed due to copyright infringement.]


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Posted by JW
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

@resident - I think they just finished that little part of the freeway revamp and there may indeed now be a shoulder.

Please, wear your seat belts!!


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Posted by Kirsten Luehrs
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I drove by the police car that was on the shoulder sometime between 645 and 650 am. (Was driving to Home Depot from Oregon expressway). Oddly, when I passed the police car, seeing it on the other side if the barrier, I noticed it as beig odd. It was in an odd position or something. It had its overhead lights on low or something, where I saw only a blue light on but no lights flashing like you'd see in an emergency.

I came here here to post specifically because when I passed it I was concerned about it. Couldn't figure out why he was there. I think the truck was pretty far ahead of the police car. I hate that whole area since the construction barriers were put up. So dangerous for merging especially with mixed speed traffic (ie not rush hour, even worse with Sunday drivers)

I think we need to question what the police officer was doing and why his vehicle was were it was, with the lights only partially on.

When I came out of Home Depot and saw the helecopter, I just knew it was related.


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Posted by some guy
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I came here to find out why the Oregon Expressway to 101 North ramp was blocked by a cop car, and why the cars going north on 101 were stopped. I was going south from Oregon on 101. This was at about a little after 1 pm. Maybe all the lanes were open at that time, but the cars weren't moving, as I was passing them in the opposite direction. It's interesting to hear that maybe the CHP car was partially blocking the lane.


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Posted by cant be serious
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Let's question why the police car was there? Lights partially on? Car was there to help a motorist per reports. Maybe the distance between them is so the person didn't get injured if someone hit the police car. Maybe the lights were only partially on to reduce the likelyhood of someone rear ending him (which studies have shown lights to cause). Maybe this was a horrible, sad unfortunate accident and you should direct your focus of attention to that.

How about not questioning the police for once. How about simply expressing sympathy for those injured and the tragic loss suffered by the family, without trying to lay blame so quickly. My heart goes out to them


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Posted by Kirsten
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

100 percent of what I've read blames the driver of the SUV and the lack of seat belts.

I just know that I passed the police car this morning and it, at the time, sincerely struck me as being strange. Maybe everything was 100% to the book, I know. But that was what I was asking. Maybe my angle of approach, since I was on the on ramp made it look different. I don't know. Just saying it looked unusual to me at 6:45 and I don't want to assume it was entirely the fault of the SUV driver.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Kirsten
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Good grief guys. I have never commented in anything like this before. I'm just a local person. My intent was about the emotionl feeling of blame and self blame in the case of the driver. I don't mean to imply any kind of legal responsibility. I would just hate, as a parent, to carry the guilt, both self imposed and placed by the public, in the injury and/or death of a child. Horrible. I just want to support them with empathy, specific to how the driving situation may have presented to them. Not in a legal sense.


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Posted by Sharon, at it again
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by member
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I came to this website because the reports describing the position of the CHP vehicle didn't add up. I am not an attorney, just a concerned citizen. Thanks for posting your comments Kristen.


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Posted by Katie
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Plain and simple they were not wearing seat belts. A small act to saving your life. No need to over analyze the accident.


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Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

The San Jose Mercury has a more complete story about the accident, online. Young lady killed was 24.....a bride to be......readers should be more concerned at the loss of life than what caused the accident.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Last Wednesday I think it was there was a car that had stalled alongside the road a little past the on-ramp to 101 South. Traffic was at a dead standstill and the poor occupant of the car looked pretty scared. It's probably helpful that traffic is slow, because otherwise people go too fast and do not see or stop in time and can run into cars in this situation. The most dangerous situations I have seen are like this, once on 280 over by El Monte, and the other on the Dumbarton bridge. People drive too fast and do not pay attention. I had to get a jump-start today from AAA and the towtruck driver was telling me about this.


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Posted by Hey Kristen
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

The reports are clear the police vehicle was on the shoulder but it really doesn't matter.

Even if the vehicle were stopped fully in the lane you have to drive at a safe speed to react to hazards and not plow into them at a speed with your family that your would flip your car.

The fact that you made it around the vehicle suggested any one should have.



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Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

@ Kirsten
Thanks for posting. Sure, folks with pro or anti government agendas come out of the woodwork at times like these, but it is good to get first hand eyewitness information.


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Posted by annon
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

lets stop judging and support the family. they were our family friends. other daughter died too. parents r going through surgries too. Lets support them Thnks


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

This is a very sad story and I am so sorry for the family and friends.

I wish they (the stores) would stop this mad post Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Too many people are getting hurt. Thanksgiving is a time when we should be grateful for what we have, not going out to get more. People get hurt in stampedes, shoot each other over parking spots, get angry because the stores don't have enough big deals for everyone in line. People need to enjoy thanksgiving with their families and then go to bed and sleep, not go out and shop. The almighty dollar is ruining Thanksgiving.


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Posted by BeSafe
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

Terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to this grieving family. However in defense of everyone trying to find a cause of this accident, they are only trying to prevent something like this from happening again. Was the police car properly parked? Were the police lights causing a distraction (I have been a witness to a motorcycle accident where that was the cause)? Were the construction signs misleading? If there is something that can be fixed here, then it must be fixed. Even if not, then I think all drivers need to be reminded of just how quickly a tragedy can happen when operating a vehicle. Was the driver fatigued? Were the passengers wearing seat belts? We all need to be sure that our driving habits and the roads we share are always safe especially during the holiday season when shopping, partying, travelling cause more drivers to be on the roads.


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Posted by some guy
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

Something happened to my last post so I have to type it in again.

Question authority. Post what you want and don't let anyone bully you. You don't have to ask permission to post.


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Posted by No shoulder
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

We drive by that part of 101 everyday. There is no shoulder around the Embarcadero exit. There are construction concrete walls on both sides due to road work. Now the question is did the CHP officer place appropriate cones and reflectors when stopping to assist the truck. There is not enough clearance to stop or slow down safely due to a blind spot right before Embarcadero exit. Hope they will fix this problem before more people get hurt.


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Why do you think they kept the freeway closed down to one lane investigating all day? I do believe some agency with deep pockets (Caltrans/CHP) probably is on the hook for this.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Deep-pocketed organizations will always "settle" out of court as it is way cheaper if there is even a small chance of being even partially responsible as in having no shoulders and/or partially blocking a lane.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm

If they do settle it'll be for less than if they'd been wearing seatbelts & the driver had adequate sleep. CalTrans is used to getting sued for this type of thing. It remains to be seen if the CHP will prefer charges against the driver.

A reminder once again that this section of 101 is especially dangerous & can be avoided.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

I commute on 101 regularly and have noticed an increase in accidents between the willow and embarcadero exits on both north and south bound directions. Has anyone else noticed this? Something may need to be looked into and fixed by caltrans or chp?


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Posted by Stupid A3
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 25, 2012 at 1:25 am

Stupid A3 is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2012 at 2:02 am

i agree with Kirsten that people should always been driving slow enough to see and react to anything they might encounter.

Id also like to say, that is a total fantasy. I feel more and more like Im taking my life in my hands every time I drive somewhere these days.

If Im on the freeway if there is a cars length space ahead of me every single time someone trying to exit to the right will pass me to swerve inside and into the exit rather than just fall in behind me and exit ... the time savings is like nothing, zero seconds, yet virtually every time this is true.

Another thing people do is to rush up from behind and then pull in front of you .... like they think they are hiding their speeding from any police car in the rear. I don't know why they would even bother since Ive not seen anyone pulled over myself almost for years.

People don't signal, they do not think about how fast the people behind them might have to hit the brakes when they pull in front of them, and many routinely park crappily or in two spaces.

I wonder if we gave up policing because people are just out of control, or people are out of control because they are not afraid to get tickets anymore.

But of course, when they do go out to give more tickets, its ironically often the good drivers that get the tickets because they are just looking for any infraction and not something that is particularly a danger to the public.

I would love to see the advent of the self-driving car as soon as possible. That would be nice and safe and very productive for people.


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Posted by construction
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

as i recall has been ongoing problamatic, the construction has left no place to safely pull over...this CHP was neg. there was a guy that was hit not long ago and killed....

caltrans knew this would happened on this streach of freeway


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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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