Mountain View Voice

News - November 1, 2013

Funerals set for couple killed by alleged drunk driver

Kamal Singh worked at Mountain View Walgreens

by Sandy Brundage and Dave Boyce

A private funeral service for Balbir and Kamal Kaur Singh was held on Wednesday, followed by a public memorial on Thursday, Oct. 31, according to Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward.

Kamal Singh worked at a Walgreens in Mountain View, where many knew her as "Kim." Local customers, describing her as friendly and very helpful, said she is missed.

Photos, flowers and mementos have appeared on the path along Chilco Street where an alleged drunken driver killed the Menlo Park couple on Oct. 24 as they walked their dog. They leave behind three teenage children.

The driver, Marjorie Reitzell, 54, of Redwood City was arrested on two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of felony driving under the influence, Menlo Park Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini said. Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she had a valid driver's license at the time of Thursday's tragedy, according to law enforcement officials.

A preliminary screen showed that her blood alcohol on Oct. 24 was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Reitzell was booked into jail over the weekend and scheduled for arraignment on Monday. However, just before court started, she complained of chest pains and was removed for medical treatment, according to the district attorney's office. The judge continued the arraignment.

Fatal collision

Streetlights but no sidewalks line the side of Chilco Street where Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Singh, 45, were walking their Chihuahua in the bike lane eastbound on Chilco Street, west of Constitution Drive, at around 6:50 p.m. when they were hit from behind by a 1998 Honda Accord driven by Reitzell, according to police.

Investigators said the Honda kept going, over the center median and into the westbound lane. It hit another car, causing minor damage and not injuring four passengers. The Honda then collided with a tree before finally stopping.

Police arrived minutes after a 6:54 p.m. call reported seeing two bodies in the road. Menlo Park Fire Protection District personnel arrived and pronounced the couple dead at the scene.

Reitzell, alone in her car, complained of pain at the scene. Officers said they detected signs of alcohol intoxication. She was taken to Stanford Medical Center for treatment before being released to the jail.

The couple's injured dog was turned over to the Peninsula Humane Society, which took him to the North Peninsula Emergency Veterinary Clinic for treatment. PHS representative Scott Delucchi said the day after the accident that the dog had suffered head trauma and was listed in stable condition.

'He loved his family'

Balbir Singh worked in materials handling since 2007, when he was hired at AngioScore, a maker of medical devices with about 100 employees headquartered in Fremont.

Human resources representative Lucy Gopinath shared a few memories. "He was a really nice guy, very hard working and friendly," she said. "Ours is a small company, so we all knew each other. We're collecting funds for his kids. ... We all observed a moment of silence for him."

Asked about his life outside work, Gopinath replied, "He loved his family, that much I know."

The company learned of the tragedy, Gopinath said, when a couple of employees came running with the news, which the company then confirmed with the family. "We've been crying all day," she said.

Relatives are reported to be looking after the couples' children — an 18-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son.

Comments

Posted by T. Orlando, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

To the Singh family, I send my deepest condolences. This tragedy is particularly sad because it was avoidable. The driver, Marjorie Reitzell, was arrested several times for DUI. Why she was permitted to drive is beyond me. The Justice system failed the Singh family and this community.


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