A Palo Alto woman who has attended to many car-accident victims in front of her home narrowly missed being struck by a car that crashed into her garage late Friday morning.
Homeowner Kausalya Ganapathi said she and her husband moved into the home in 2011. She has given water and offered help and encouragement to a number of people who have been involved in crashes near their house on the corner of Wilkie Way and West Charleston Road, but this latest accident was personal.
She had left her garage after doing laundry just two minutes before a silver Subaru Legacy rammed through her fence and into the building, stopping just inches from where she had been standing, she said. Still shaken an hour later, she made her way through the splintered pieces of her front yard fence, past the gaping hole that was once the side of her garage. She stared at the street, then her eyes wandered up the sidewalk and over the landscaping rock in her yard.
"There are no skid marks," she noted, still visibly shaken.
She was taking things out to the trash bins next to the garage door while talking on the phone with a relative. Then she noticed a man in his 30s lying in the middle of the intersection with his downed motorbike.
"I thought that someone on the ground had gotten hit," she said she told the relative. "And then I saw my fence flying and I heard a big kerboomp. I came around to the front and saw a car had crashed through my garage. A man was standing beside it," she said.
The driver, who was in his 60s, stepped out of the car and said he was all right, Ganapathi said.
After speaking with the driver, she learned the man on the motorbike was heading west on West Charleston Road and had made a left turn onto Wilkie Way. The signal has no left-turn arrow, so that makes drivers have to turn into oncoming traffic. The Subaru driver was heading east when he saw the motorcyclist on the road and made a sharp turn to avoid a collision, smashing into Ganapathi's fence and garage instead.
The Subaru driver said he had to drive onto her property or he would've killed the motorcyclist, according to Ganapathi.
Police officers and emergency crews were called to the scene in the 4200 block of Wilkie Way around 11 a.m. after a community services officer witnessed the crash, police said. The motorcyclist fell off his bike and complained of pain, but no one was transported to a hospital, police Sgt. Nic Martinez said. No injuries were reported and no arrests or citations were made, according to Martinez.
Ganapathi said she wants the city to install left-turn signals at the intersection in all four directions. The street is busy with bicyclists, including many schoolchildren, as well as bustling traffic.
"I'm the one calling the police and helping to give water and comfort people after the accidents," Ganapathi said. "I was two minutes from being struck in my garage today. It just missed me."