News

Jury trial for driver in fatal accident

A criminal case is moving forward against Los Altos resident Glenn Kawaguchi, the driver involved in a 2015 accident that killed a woman walking on El Monte Avenue.

The victim, Michelle Montalvo, 54, was crossing the street in a crosswalk at the time.

A May 8 jury trial is scheduled for Kawaguchi, who has been charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter based on police officials' conclusion that he failed to yield to a pedestrian.

According to the police report, Kawaguchi was not intoxicated at the time, and he handed over his cellphone to show he wasn't texting or chatting while driving.

If convicted, he could face a year in jail, as well as fines.

His case was originally scheduled to go to trial in February, but it was delayed due to witness unavailability. The case was again postponed at the request of Kawaguchi's attorney and rescheduled for May 8, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.

Comments

66 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 20, 2017 at 3:55 pm

This is very wrong. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and crossing the street in the dark. She had the benefit of seeing the lighted car approaching but crossed in front of him anyway. The driver couldn't see the pedestrian until his lights hit her which apparently was too late. From what I've read he wasn't speeding, wasn't intoxivated and wasn't distracted by his phone. The intersection just wasn't properly lighted. What could he have done differently to avoid the accident if she was invisible?

In this situation the pedestrian had the upper hand and should be seen as responsible for the outcome. Was she using her phone and not paying attention? Was she under the influence of some substance? Why would she step out in front of a car in the dark? What positive outcomes can possibly result from charging this driver with a crime? I don't get it.


26 people like this
Posted by mari posa
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 4:45 pm

I agree with "Concerned", the driver was totally unaware of the pedestrian. Nobody runs over a pedestrian on purpose or because doesn't want to yield. Mr. Kawaguchi simply didn't see the pedestrian. It is hard sometimes to see a pedestrian dressed in dark crossing a road. It is totally unfortunate that the pedestrian was run over but it was unintended. This is not manslaughter, it is lack of vision in the dark. It can happen to any of us, that is why we sympathize with the driver. He probably was not careless, he didn't see her. I hope the jury sees that too.


24 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm

I don't understand why he was even charged. I'm sure the trauma of killing the woman was horrible. Now having to endure the stress and expense of the trial compounds it. Can you imagine how much this trial must be costing him?


21 people like this
Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm

The worst: We still have 2 unprotected crossings within feet of each other. No flashing markers on the road, no flashing warning signs on the side walk. When you step out of the shadow of the Sequoias onto the road in dark clothing, you are not visible. Nothing learned from this accident.Still a bad intersection for pedestrians.And unsuspecting drivers...


6 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm

One must suspect that some or all of the preceding anonymous posters are connected to this defendant.


51 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 20, 2017 at 7:23 pm

@ Stan - you couldn't be more wrong. All I know of the defendant is what I've read in the news. However I do drive in the early mornings when it's dark and I can tell you that pedestrians, whether runners or walkers and bikers, dressed in dark clothing, are invisible to drivers on our dimly lit or unlit streets. Therefore I sympathize with the defendant because I don't think there's anything he could have done to avoid her if he couldn't see her. This was truly an accident and one that likely could have been avoided if the pedestrian had been more vigilant.


111 people like this
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm

@Stan. I'm new to these comments and I don't know the defendant.
But anyone who steps in front of a moving car, assuming the car will stop for them, either doesn't have any common sense or doesn't value their life. The truly sad thing is when the person doing this is pulling a young child along with them.

WORD OF WARNING. As we move into the summer months... Let's use this tragedy to take the opportunity to remind those we love that it is equally as difficult to see pedestrians as the sun shines directly into a driver's eyes... and take the prudent precautions.


11 people like this
Posted by Abigail
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:48 pm

How about we also remind drivers to slow down and look carefully? I am a taken aback by all of this victim blaming. A woman was killed crossing the street, not diving with sharks or skydiving. Walking, in her town, in a crosswalk.


16 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Abigail. He wasn't speeding. She came into the crosswalk in the pre-dawn wearing dark clothes. Frankly she needs to be blamed, she didn't take responsibility for her own safety and has caused an innocent person horrific life-long consequences. This poor man has to live with her inexcusable behavior.

It's awful. I feel for him and his family.


15 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm

@Abigail- yes, she killed walking in her town, in a crosswalk in the dark while wearing dark clothing, rendering herself invisible. There is no stop sign at that crosswalk. Drivers don't typically slow down in the middle of the street without a reason. And since he couldn't see the pedestrian he would have no reason to slow. I'm certainly not interested in victim "blaming" as her death is clearly a tragedy but it's hard to understand why a pedestrian would step into the street in the dark with a vehicle coming toward her.


27 people like this
Posted by Very simple
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Pedestrian in a crosswalk has right-of-way. Read the Driver Handbook. Doesn't matter what that person is wearing.

If the motorist doesn't see the pedestrian in the crosswalk (s)he is going too fast to notice or otherwise make paying attention. Just because you can relate to the driver doesn't make inattention okay.


15 people like this
Posted by @Very Simple
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:20 pm

The driver handbook can't account for every circumstance. Laws aren't completely black and white (otherwise we wouldn't have lawyers!). It's already been established that the driver was not speeding and we have no reason to think he wasn't paying attention since we also know he hadn't been using his phone. When a pedestrian suddenly steps in front of your car there's not much you can do regardless of your speed. Let's hope the jury applies some common sense to this case.


14 people like this
Posted by Intelligent Sense
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2017 at 11:36 pm

"Common Sense" needs better sense than just what is "common" in the ignorant. The pedestrian has the right-of-way. It is very important for drivers to slow down, be sure that there are no pedestrians in or near crosswalks and proceed carefully. The statues allow the driver some protection if the pedestrian jumps in front of the car (even in a crosswalk). The fact that this is proceeding to trial means that nothing close to this happened. Perhaps the driver was reaching for his phone to make a call (which would be consistent with the fact that he showed the officer his phone, which had no calls on it)? Or maybe read a newspaper? Or maybe check out a shiny new Tesla going by?

The "common sense" people would allow you to believe that a person wearing dark clothing is INVISIBLE unless it is broad daylight. Sorry, but I have seen dark clothed, dark skinned people cross the road at night and my headlights picked them up. I can understand that if my attention was elsewhere, my peripheral vision would be challenged, but that is why I focus on what is important, which is what is in front of me!

Time to stop blaming the victim! Instead, go take some driver's education classes and learn to slow down and yield to pedestrians. I'm sure that anyone who is defending this driver, is a terrible driver themselves.


27 people like this
Posted by Dangerous Conditions
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:25 am

Snipped from a July 2016 article about a jury verdict in a pedestrian fatality case in an uncontrolled crosswalk along El Camino Real...

Web Link

"We presented evidence that marked crosswalks in uncontrolled intersections give pedestrians a false sense of security pedestrians believe that vehicles will yield to them in the crosswalk when, in fact, the drivers of the vehicles may be unable to see the pedestrians due to surrounding traffic," said Paula Welch of Danko Meredith. Drivers often can't see the crosswalk markings, she said.

And, in reference to another verdict which had to do with another pedestrian who was struck and received catastrophic injuries at an uncontrolled intersection on El Camino Real...

Web Link

"The unusual aspect to this case however, lie in the fact that Rich and his law partner Doug Saeltzer—at Walkup Melodia, felt that the primary fault of the accident should be directly attributed to Caltrans, due to the roadway/intersection design which respect to placing a marked crosswalk at an uncontrolled intersection on an arterial road, thereby creating a false sense of security for pedestrians and masking a highly dangerous set of circumstances—particularly in view of how hilly the area surrounding Ludeman Lane was. ..."

I realize both these cases were on El Camino Real, where Coltrans controls the roadway, but the dangerous condition in both cases was the same, the uncontrolled crosswalk.






17 people like this
Posted by Very Simple
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:26 am

Just because the driver was not speeding, drunk, or using his phone does it mean (s)he was not inattentive or negligent. Maybe he was daydreaming. It's incumbent to be alert at crosswalks. It would be an entirely a different story if some one jumped into the street mid-block. At a crosswalk all of us drivers need to have a heightened sense of caution. By blaming a pedestrian for not yielding (even if this was fatally foolish) is not giving right-of-way to the pedestrian. It's the opposite... it's by definition saying that a driver gets the right if way because the car can cause injury. And it is not taking responsibility of driving with the seriousness it deserves.

I am sympathetic with the driver because I too can see myself in that situation. Its hard to always have heightened attention. But we should strive for it and not make excuses.

In any case I think we can perhaps all agree that the streets need to be designed better (crossing beacons, narrowing lanes, better lighting...) to reduce the risk of driver and pedestrians making mistakes which we all do once in a while and are most of the time lucky enough to avoid injury.

These accidents are an unfortunate but effective reminder for drivers and pedestrians to be more aware and safe.


16 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

@Very Simple you are severely misinformed. You are basically saying that if someone darts out in a crossing a motor vehicle is responsbiile for stopping. That is NOT correct. I'm not an attorney and I don't have the information at hand but I remember seeing something about pedestrians having some modicum of responsibility for safely crossing.

This whole discussion about pedestrian rights concerns me. Of COURSE a driver should be aware and responsible and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Common sense dictates that they should yield whether there's a crosswalk or not!!

But this continued pressure that pedestrians have all the rights has taken things beyond common sense. Pedestrians have responsibility for their safety as well. We have GOT to stop giving this false sense of security and make very firm regulations for pedestrians as well. I can't tell you how many people I see jay-walking or blatantly walking in front of oncoming traffic, likely with the understanding "they have the rights". In order to continue to have a reasonable flow of traffic we need to have clearly defined rights and responsibilities for all; drivers, pedestrians, cyclists.

Walking across an unlit crosswalk in the dark, pre-dawn morning is not using sound judgement. You can argue all you like for "rights" but her poor judgement cost her her life. Tragic. For all sides.


17 people like this
Posted by Common Law
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

@Common Sense: Sounds like you're telling pedestrians to simply "Watch out and get out of the way." That's what it boils down to anyway. Selfish yes, based in law? Nope.

I hope the driver gets a fair trail within the law and I hope no other drivers have to follow in his steps.
I hope all drivers understand the responsibility they have by being granted the PRIVILEGED to drive a car; a responsibility of being alert and abiding by the road laws at all time in order to safe-guard the rest of the community. You need to obey the laws though, otherwise there can be serious repercussions, no matter how good a guy you are.


6 people like this
Posted by Artie Green
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

It's natural to reach some conclusion about a reported event based on whatever facts are presented in a news article. The problem is that inevitably there are missing facts & details which cause us to fill in the gaps based on our own individual experiences and attitudes (or, if you prefer, our biases).

Although I was not there and know nothing about the specific circumstances beyond what was reported, my initial conclusion is that both the driver and the pedestrian should have been more careful. Drivers should be especially alert when approaching crosswalks by actively scanning for pedestrians, not just in the middle but at both ends. And pedestrians should not enter a crosswalk without making eye contact with any approaching drivers to ensure they have been seen. Hopefully this event will serve to educate us all to become better drivers and pedestrians.

What is most interesting to me is that the DA has charged Kawaguchi with criminal vehicular manslaughter. That suggests two possibilities. Either the DA has enough evidence (or thinks he has enough evidence) to convict Kawaguchi under the law, or (taking a more cynical view) the DA or someone on staff has personal reasons for wanting to do harm to Kawaguchi. We may never find out if the latter is a factor, but we will find out if the former is true based on the outcome of the trial and the additional facts it brings to light.


12 people like this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

Wow, so many people so quick to blame Ms. Montalvo. Why have a trial when MV Voice readers know whose fault it is!

A woman is dead from a traffic collision. Why is it so upsetting that the person driving the car that hit her is going to trial where evidence of what happened will be presented and a judgement of fault will be assessed? Why is that more upsetting than the fact that Ms Montalvo has received the ultimate sentence for walking in a way that's likely completely legal?

Do you all really think you have all the evidence needed to assess who's at fault here? You don't. You're assuming she was wearing black, darting into the street, etc. That's why we have a judicial system, not mob rule based on public sentiment and news reports.

The truth is that many of our streets aren't safe for walking because drivers have fought back on any attempt to design/redesign them for safety. Of the 13 pedestrians killed by cars in the last seven years in Mountain View and Los Altos, 12 were walking on streets where drivers regularly exceed 35 mph. Eight were in crosswalks. Three were standing or walking on the sidewalk. One was in a parking lot. Based on news reports, only three drivers that had to defend their behavior in criminal court. Web Link

That's what's wrong here. People who die while walking get blamed because drivers don't want to give up driving fast and without due care.


11 people like this
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

There are two issues to consider:

1. The very poorly designed intersection and the continuing efforts fix it.
2. The facts of this particular accident.

Since it is a jury trial, I expect this evidence will be introduced:

The collision report indicates that Kawaguchi was not using his cellphone at the time of the accident, and toxicology reports did not detect alcohol or drugs in his body. Toxicology reports revealed the presence of methamphetamines and amphetamines in Montalvo’s system.

“It did not appear that (Montalvo) was impaired to the point where she was stumbling or needed any assistance to walk across the street,” according to the report, but “she did not stop or try to run to safety just before she was fatally struck.”



Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:50 am

@Just the Facts

Yes, the trial will almost certainly address those findings. But for the armchair-jury we have here, note that a number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs yield false positives for amphetamine and methampetamine--common ones used to treat diabetes, depression, allergies, hyperactivity. Web Link

Metformin (Glucophage). The most commonly prescribed oral medication for diabetes, taking Metformin may result in a positive test for amphetamine or methamphetamine.

Fluoxetine (Prozac) and trazodone. Both are used to treat depression and may result in false positive tests for amphetamine or methamphetamine and LSD.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Used for sinus and nasal congestion, Sudafed—as many of you already know—may result in a false positive test for amphetamine or methamphetamine.

Labetalol (Trandate) is both an alpha and beta blocker used for blood pressure control. If you’ve taken labetalol you could have a false positive for amphetamine or methamphetamine and LSD.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin). Used for the treatment of ADHD, this Ritalin is a well-known cause of false positive tests for both amphetamine or methamphetamine and LSD.


11 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Different "Common sense" here from the one who posted above.

I posted here right after the accident: "The exact circumstances aren't yet publicly known, but that doesn't stop people here from projecting their favorite assumptions onto the case, then commenting based on those assumptions. / It's a tragic death and shouldn't have happened. Motorists have a primary responsibility not to hit people! AND YET, if in fact bad visibility contributed to this pre-dawn collision, and the pedestrians failed to prudently and defensively consider their impaired visibility to drivers when crossing, then that reality wouldn't be "blaming the victim," it would be part of the facts in the case, and worthy of publicity. (Please notice subjunctive verb mood: I, for one, don't claim omniscience.)"

More physical and witness evidence later appeared, much of it shown on this website, including the statement that the two walking women stopped on the median and then proceeded, with an approaching vehicle in view, as if expecting it to stop; then at the last moment, realized it wouldn't. One of the two jumped to safety but the other was hit and killed.

Such information shaped the recent comments above. Obviously this isn't a courtroom with rules of evidence. But once again, I notice ideological presuppositions coloring arguments here. When the information at hand raises reasonable questions (even among people very sympathetic to her plight) about Ms. Montalvo's behavior in the incident, then citing that information doesn't justify dismissive boilerplate rhetoric like "armchair-jury," "quick to blame Ms. Montalvo," or "blamed because drivers don't want to give up driving fast and without due care." Another example of ideological reasoning is to quickly accept prima-facie explanations when favorable to Ms. Montalvo (the driver is presumed likely at fault), yet look for deeper complications when the upshot is less favorable to her ("over-the-counter and prescription drugs yield false positives for amphetamine and methampetamine").

I see the original comment above, by "Concerned," as expressing the case's complexity, in view of seemingly clearer-cut past incidents of car-to-pedestrian fatality where no criminal charges followed.


14 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Janet. Are you saying that a pedestrian wearing dark clothing in pre-dawn hours has used common sense and prudent judgement to walk in front of a car on a dark street at a time when there most absolutely does not normally have people walking about?

And speaking to the question as to why he's even being charged I'm just going to throw this out there. That crosswalk is dangerous. It's in an entirely unexpected place, it is not at the ECR intersection, it should have been removed long ago if not immediately after this tragic accident. I have to wonder why it's still there? Is there a preponderance of guilt/responsibility on the City if they were to remove it? Are they leaving it there Until this poor man takes the fall?

Why is this crosswalk STILL THERE????


7 people like this
Posted by Janet Lafleur
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm

@Enough We don't know what happened there: what she was wearing, whether she stepped in front of the car, or whether the car turned onto the roadway after she had entered the crosswalk. We have stories in the news and lots of presumptions. My point is we aren't jurors and don't have the evidence. And I'm angry that so many people are saying her life isn't worth a trial.

As for the crosswalk being unsafe. Yes, it is. The roadway was built in a way that encourages people to drive 35+mph in a retail area where there are driveways, sidestreets and significant foot traffic. Flashing beacons and other changes being proposed would improve its safety.

The answer is not to remove the crosswalk. People aren't going to walk an extra 1/4 mile to use a crosswalk at El Camino. And if you've ever walked down the sidewalk on El Camino across El Monte you'd know that the crosswalk for the slip lane is more dangerous than crossing at Marich Way.


9 people like this
Posted by Gary's Old Towne Tavern
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I find it a little hard to believe that some of the posters above are not family and/or friends of the accused. Bottom line is the guy ran over a pedestrian who had legal right of way in a crosswalk. Jury trial is appropriate. Let the jury weigh all the evidence.


8 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

Add to the examples of ideology-driven reasoning I quoted above: Finding it "hard to believe that ... posters above are not family and/or friends of the accused."

So, if you dare point out information already public, but inconsistent with a drivers-are-invariably-guilty assumption, it must reflect a vested interest on your part (rather than reality)?

No, we don't know everything; yet we do have a lot of tentative information. It's wrong to attack or second-guess people here for pointing that information out, or for contrasting this tragic case to others that produced no criminal charges. Despite Janet LaFleur's insistent implication above, much "evidence presented" and "fault assessed" in criminal cases happens before and outside of any court trial -- by DA and police dept. investigators. Questioning those parties' pre-trial decisions on reasoned grounds is hardly "armchair jury" or "victim-blaming."

We've all seen self-absorbed motorists who drive unsafely. And we've all (if we've paid attention) also seen self-absorbed pedestrians who expect all traffic to notice them, and if necessary, stop suddenly when they cross at imprudent moments (not unlike passive-aggressive personalities who expect everyone to read their minds, resenting anyone who fails to). Neither behavior is safe, nor a justification for the other.


7 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Janet, a "Roadway built in a way that encourages people to drive 35+"".

It's a STREET, it's meant for CARS to move most efficiently to work, errands etc. See, this is what I'm talking about where we're putting ideology before common sense. Of COURSE it encourages people to drive!

You also claim the crosswalk is 1/4 mile too far from the next crossing at ECR. One, I really don't think it's 1/4 mile, two a 1/4 mile isn't really that far and THREE are you really seriously saying the unmarked, unlit crosswalk is safer than the one that is marked, lit and at an actual intersection?????

Your desire to social engineer this community surpasses common sense. I appreciate that you're advocating for pedestrian rights but enough.


5 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm

The law is clear that the pedestrian has the right of way in a crosswalk, and that right of way was violated by the driver. Now the pedestrian is dead. Open and shut case, no debate needed. It's irrelevant whether it was dark out, whether the pedestrian was wearing dark clothes, whether it was a rainy day, the lunar cycle, etc. The law is clear! Rule of law prevails, this guy belongs in jail.


7 people like this
Posted by Very simple
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

@Enough: Streets are public space that all citizens use not just motorists. Streets are also for bicyclists, pedestrians, people waiting for the bus. We need to design streets so that it's safer for everyone. That's common sense and pragmatic... not social engineering.


12 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm

I agree with "Enough". Why is the crosswalk still there? The city of Mountain should be on trial. Yes, they have put signage up and painted some bright yellow lines...take one of the damn crosswalks away. We don't need two crosswalks at the same intersection. Remove the pine and redwood trees on the CVS side of the street, so a motorist can actually see a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross. That intersection is one of the worst ones in the state. And, if a motorist slows down to try and see all four points of the two crosswalks, you get rear ended because people are not leaving enough space between cars these days. It's called tailgating. The City is accountable here, not the driver.


9 people like this
Posted by look both ways everyone
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:09 pm

So pedestrian fatalities have increased in the US by 11% in 2016 alone. Between 2010 and 2015 the number of fatalities increased by 25%. Why?

1. More distracted drivers
2. More distracted or impaired walkers.
3. Poorly lit crosswalks (the city fixed this crosswalk weeks after the tragedy)

In the past 5 years, I have had many people walk into my car while I am at a full stop from either looking at their smartphones or just plain impaired or both. Was it my fault they just did not pay any attention to their well being and walk right across the street into my stopped car?

My parents told me to look both ways before crossing any street and I continue to heed this rule since I heard it 45 years ago. Ms. Montalvo at 54 was walking at dark (74 percent of all pedestrian fatalities happen at dark), with dark clothes, and 7/8th of the way to the safe sidewalk.

Since the driver was not distracted or impaired according to police, my armchair deduction would assume that the pedestrian was.


5 people like this
Posted by Convict
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm

What a silly debate! The driver was clearly negligent when they killed the person in the crosswalk. It is not the fault of the pedestrian whatsoever. Anyone who blames the victim is a very sad individual.


9 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:39 pm

Here's the report:
"Closed-circuit television cameras from a Chevron gas station captured the incident: Montalvo and her sister, Delia Montalvo Moyles, enter the north Marich Way crosswalk and proceed through the southbound traffic lanes without incident. The women reach the first northbound lane, and a white Toyota Prius drives past them. The women pause but then cross into the path of Kawaguchi’s GMC Suburban. Moyles passes in front of the Suburban, but the front right portion of the vehicle strikes Montalvo, who is moving at a slower pace.

The collision report indicates that Kawaguchi was not using his cellphone at the time of the accident, and toxicology reports did not detect alcohol or drugs in his body. Toxicology reports revealed the presence of methamphetamines and amphetamines in Montalvo’s system.

“It did not appear that (Montalvo) was impaired to the point where she was stumbling or needed any assistance to walk across the street,” according to the report, but “she did not stop or try to run to safety just before she was fatally struck.”

."... according to the report, “it did not appear that (the Prius) or (the Suburban) were traveling at an unreasonable speed during the collision.”

“As (Kawaguchi) crossed Marich Way, he suddenly saw a female pedestrian directly in front of his vehicle,” the report stated. “He did not see her prior to when his headlight ‘hit’ her.”

People accusing this poor guy of negligent driving must believe that all drivers should possess super powers before getting behind the wheel. It's bad enough that she was wearing dark clothes while crossing in the dark in an unlit crosswalk that is further obscured by shadows cast from large trees along the road - but additionally, the Prius would have obscured any peripheral view of her coming from the side. She literally stepped out right in front of him.

I stick with my original comment that this is just wrong. It makes me wonder if he was charged as a scapegoat to distract from the city's negligence in failing to create safe passageway for pedestrians at that spot.


9 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:53 pm

@concerned this is exactly what IHave been saying. WHY is this crosswalk still there? It makes no sense when there is one just a couple hundred feet away (AND at an intersection, with lights).

This is negligence on the City or the county or whomever "owns" this street and I really am starting to feel strongly the driver is being used as a scapegoat. One can only hope he has good strong legal backing.

Honestly, after such a horrific accident why on earth is this crosswalk still there?? It makes no sense unless again, the City is afraid of "assumed guilt" by removing it. And then there is a whole new slew of problems from the victims family then suing for negligence even tho she from all accounts was using very poor judgement and acting unsafe.

All around, awful situation but again I feel most deeply for the poor driver.


7 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 22, 2017 at 6:45 am

That report just confirms the driver failed to yield. The driver didn't slow down or make any attempt to determine whether someone was in the crosswalk, they just plowed right through, and now someone is dead. Imagine crosswalks as a giant YIELD sign. If you can't determine whether you need to yield because of visibility or other reasons then you need to slow down (or even come to a stop) until you are 100% sure. The driver didn't do that, he broke the law and failed to yield as required by law. Now someone is DEAD. Lock him up.


13 people like this
Posted by Wow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2017 at 7:25 am

Did not want to comment on this thread until now but Enough said "I feel most deeply for the poor driver."

Wow. You feel worse for the guilty driver than the dead pedestrian. Wow.


18 people like this
Posted by Read the report
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2017 at 7:39 am

It's clear why this is going to trial.
The two pedestrians were not walking side by side, which is why only one got hit. That shows there was even MORE time to see and react to the pedistrians in the crosswalk.

The anti-pedistrian attitude here is shocking. I wonder what would the reaction would be if the unfortunate pedestrian was Caucasian? Wait, I don't.


5 people like this
Posted by Enough with the victim blaming!
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Stop with this.

A driver is responsible for their vehicle. It is their responsibility to avoid *any* collisions and crashes. Drivers have an absolute responsibility to the safety of their passengers and the people around them.

Michelle was with her sister. Glenn for some reason could not see TWO grown women in a marked crosswalk. BOTH of them were well established in the crosswalk. (** I have seen the video tape of the crash)

If victim blaming Michelle is o.k., everyone reading the comments look at Michelle's name and replace it with "a 5 year-old on her way to the first day of kindergarten " This might show the true heartlessness of these comments.

As drivers, we must be looking at the peds - and ascertain their intent.

* Is that 4 year-old pulling that the mothers hand to hurry up across the street?

* Does that bicyclist look like they new to bicycling and are wobbly?

* Is that pedestrian distracted? ( I used to walk all the way home from school reading a book as a child - how would it have been o.k. to kill me as punishment for reading?)

It doesn't matter - as drivers our #1 responsibility is to not maim and kill.

Just a few days ago, I saw a crash - by yet another inattentive driver who rear-ended a driver that did stop for a pedestrian at shoreline.

Stop blaming the victim and make sure that you are not the next inattentive driver -- actively eyeball everyone around you.


3 people like this
Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2017 at 2:11 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Enough with the victim blaming!

I'm sorry that you and many others are upset by those who feel empathy for the driver.

If I am alert, attentive, doing the speed limit, not on the phone, etc... and something I cannot see despite my attentiveness (like a possum or cat or squirrel) jumps into the road, I am certainly responsible for hitting it. But there might not have been anything I could do.

In that case, I would have killed a creature, at night and in the dark, without negligence or intent or violation of the law.

A person in dark clothing may not (depending on the circumstances) be any different.

It's not victim blaming. It's not about blame at all. It's about responsibility.

If the driver took responsibility for everything he could have been responsible for, then the rest of the circumstances were out of his hands.

Nonetheless, a life was lost. A tragedy to be sure. But in that case, perhaps no crime was committed. Perhaps no law was violated. And convicting him won't bring the deceased person back in any case.

Just offering that perspective. I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. But it makes me uncomfortable for blame to be thrown in any direction; without consideration of the circumstances. One person already lost a life. Who wants to ruin someone else's as well?


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Posted by Not a lawyer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm

The fact that this is going to trail, suggests the DA thinks there was criminal intent and that this was just not an accident. There is insufficient evidence from the article regarding criminal intent. If the DA s overreaching , a jury will settle this matter very quickly. As others have noted an accident is an accident. If the driver did not see the predestrian and it was dark and not well lit, a jury will not convict.


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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Wow.. news flash people.. "COMMON SENSE" is not common.

It's also not a legal term. So stop using it in that sense.

Everyone deserves their day in court. They get to examine evidence and witnesses.

All the driver needs is one person on the jury on his side and he's a free man.


5 people like this
Posted by Enough
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

@not a lawyer "criminal intent"? So basically you're saying this guy got up one morning and decided to go out and kill someone.

This was an accident. A horrible, horrific, accident. And I stand my ground that the person who made the decision to step into the path of a car, while wearing dark clothing in the pre-dawn, in an unlit crossing, made a poor decision that cost her her life.

You can argue pedestrian rights all you want. But a car will always win. You can argue that people need to be more responsible, need to pay more attention and you're right, they do. But I tell you what. I'm sure as hell never risking my life on my "rights" over a car. I'm teaching my kids to NEVER step in front of on-coming traffic even on a green light, unless you've got eye contact with the driver. Too many people out there texting, or distracted. Just the other day my daughter put her water bottle on the center console and when I stopped it rolled on the floor, towards my brake, had to quickly lean down and grab it....only takes a second for a horrible mistake. And also lesson learned, don't have water bottles that aren't in sturdy holders too eh? Point is, distracted driving can happen to ANYONE. Let's get back to keeping EVERYONE safe and teach pedestrians better safety, quit telling them they have the right of way on everything. Stop pushing this false sense of security.

Because you can be right all you want but it doesn't matter if you're dead.


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