Woman swerves to avoid collision, dies in rollover crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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Woman swerves to avoid collision, dies in rollover crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto

Original post made on Apr 21, 2020

A woman who suddenly veered her car away from a collision on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto on Monday afternoon died at the scene after she was ejected from her vehicle when it rolled over, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 20, 2020, 5:02 PM

Comments (14)

17 people like this
Posted by Heart
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2020 at 11:46 am

This is really sad. My heart goes out to the family of the woman, especially her daughter.

If the traffic accident was minor, why was the Prius still blocking the lane? Can the article please discuss that, because helping people understand the need to get off the road in the event of an accident, if possible, is important. Was the Prius incapacitated by the accident, or not?

Wear your seatbelts, people, and take care!


28 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Posted by Heart, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> If the traffic accident was minor, why was the Prius still blocking the lane?

Please don't start down this path. The Tahoe driver was clearly not paying careful enough attention, was clearly at fault, clearly violated the California "Basic Speed Law", and, paid with her life. I'm sorry she died, but, please don't start blaming someone else for not getting out of her way fast enough.

Moderator, can we just lock this? These discussions are always fruitless.




16 people like this
Posted by Another senseless loss of life in a car
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

So sad. Everything changes in an instant. Seat belt buckled, eyes on the road, ready to stop at all times. That's how drivers should be operating, but until they do, we'll continue with these tragic losses.


6 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Your coverage is pretty awkward in that maybe you should wait until you identify the person before you describe the event if you bother describing it at all— are we sympathetic or just rubberneckers? It reminds me of the woody Guthrie song “deportees”:
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"
My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters they working the old church,
They rode the big truck still laydown and died
"Chorus"
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Unfortunately, many drivers are abusing our highways and streets that have less traffic than normal. The CHP is reporting that speeding violations are way up. They don't say how fast this truck was going, but the CHP Twitter account is reporting a lot of 100mph violators in recent weeks. At speeds like that, you really have little chance at safely reacting to something unexpected.


5 people like this
Posted by sad
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2020 at 1:29 pm

I happen to pass the area after the accident and there was what appeared to be a body on the ground, covered with something and my question is why was the body left there?

Tow trucks were removing a car, police were interviewing and the body lay there, why?

Is it normal to let a deceased person lie there instead of having an ambulance take the person to the morgue or other arrangements made?

It was tragic to see this person lying there, my condolences to her family and I would like to know why she was just left lying there when a car was towed away before her body being taken.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2020 at 1:46 pm

Posted by sad, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> I happen to pass the area after the accident and there was what appeared to be a body on the ground, covered with something and my question is why was the body left there? >> Tow trucks were removing a car, police were interviewing and the body lay there, why?

I would guess that someone from the coroner's office needs to take a look. While the immediate cause of death may be excruciatingly obvious, it could be that the driver was suffering from an underlying disease that contributed to the problem (e.g. heart attack or stroke, diabetes, etc.).

I didn't see the aftermath, but, I've seen other accidents where they had a couple of big fire trucks in back of the whole thing to keep someone else from ploughing into the public safety folks investigating. If in doubt, take your foot off the gas and get ready to slow down.

California Vehicle Code (V.C. 22350)

No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Fasten your seatbelt when you get into your car. We usually do not have snow in Palo Alto so drive onto the freeway near the speed limit and not at 35 or 45.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Posted by Green Gables, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> so drive onto the freeway near the speed limit and not at 35 or 45.

I have not seen anyone advocate that.

To be pedantic for a second: in some situations 70 MPH is appropriate; in others, 35 MPH is too fast. That is why the basic speed limit is written the way it is. Applying the basic speed limit requires both attention and, skill/practice. On the face of it, if you hit something (or flip over), you were driving too fast, according to CVC 22350.


6 people like this
Posted by Wand3r3r
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:28 pm

@Mark Weiss What the heck are you talking about? I understood the description of the account perfectly well without knowing the name/ identity of the deceased. What point is it that you’re trying to make? Just spit it out.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2020 at 11:19 pm

He was trying to say that she was from Fresno, and she was not wearing a seatbelt.

R.I.P.


2 people like this
Posted by DT North
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:04 am

I am shocked, when I am listening to the radio every day, how there are still so many traffic reports of bad accidents when most of us are not driving. One would think with wide open freeways we wouldn't have so many accidents.


2 people like this
Posted by DTNResident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2020 at 10:59 am

"Please don't start down this path. The Tahoe driver was clearly not paying careful enough attention, was clearly at fault, clearly violated the California "Basic Speed Law", and, paid with her life. I'm sorry she died, but, please don't start blaming someone else for not getting out of her way fast enough.

Moderator, can we just lock this? These discussions are always fruitless."

I agree. If I can make an entirely minor move, like driving my roadworthy car out of the lane and onto the shoulder, and it prevents the loss of life, why should I? Why should I perform a move that is the most trivial inconvenience to me if it saves the life of someone else?

Let's leave out of the discussion the fact that if the driver hadn't swerved, she might have killed the drivers of both cars, all of which could have been avoided by the drivers moving their cars out of the lane. Instead, I should just find the person at fault and not discuss others taking the most trivial of actions that would prevent the death of the at fault driver and potentially their own.

And oh yeah. we absolutely should lock the discussion so that no one can provide a contrary view.

All sarcasm aside, if you are stopped on a freeway, move the car off of it. If you can't do that, get out of the car, try to get to the right shoulder, and then head up and start waving madly from a safe distance to warn the other drivers of the hazard ahead. And let's all hope the poster of the comment I quoted never makes a mistake in her entire life.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm

Posted by DTNResident, a resident of Downtown North

>> Let's leave out of the discussion the fact that if the driver hadn't swerved, she might have killed the drivers of both cars, all of which could have been avoided by the drivers moving their cars out of the lane.

I was fortunate enough to learn to drive in California back when driver's ed was taken seriously. My very first lesson behind the wheel in a parking lot I was instructed that you always have to maintain control of the vehicle at all times. The speed limit is always an upper limit only-- but, you have to maintain control of the vehicle, period. If in doubt-- slow down. Foot off the gas, brake, always stay in control, period. It is unfortunate that driver's ed is now commercialized and many people never get that first lesson.

>> Instead, I should just find the person at fault and not discuss others taking the most trivial of actions that would prevent the death of the at fault driver and potentially their own.

The driver paid with her life. RIP. My argument is with people, and they are always there, who argue that something shouldn't have been in the way. That is extremely bad advice to any beginning driver. There will always be stuff in your way. Look for it and slow down. Don't react and swerve.

>> And oh yeah. we absolutely should lock the discussion so that no one can provide a contrary view.

But, since it isn't locked-- I disagree with you. As I said, the driver paid with her life. But, for any young drivers out there-- it is up to you to not hit stuff in front of you.

>> All sarcasm aside, if you are stopped on a freeway, move the car off of it. If you can't do that, get out of the car, try to get to the right shoulder, and then head up and start waving madly from a safe distance to warn the other drivers of the hazard ahead.

Good advice. I gone to great lengths to warn drivers about dangerous hazards ahead at times. Unfortunately, a certain fraction of those drivers never got the first lesson.

>> And let's all hope the poster of the comment I quoted never makes a mistake in her entire life.

I've made plenty of mistakes in my driving life. But, I do try to observe CVC 22350, and, that has saved me so far.


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