News

Police: 13-year-old boy fell off bike before he was fatally struck by truck at Mountain View intersection

Andre Retana fell in front of a construction truck where driver couldn't see him, police say

The El Camino Real/Grant Road intersection, where 13-year-old Graham Middle School student Andre Retana was killed in a March 17 collision, is among the most dangerous in Mountain View, according to data from the city. Photo by Natalia Nazarova.

Graham Middle School student Andre Retana had fallen off his bicycle in front of a construction truck, where the driver could not see him, prior to the March 17 crash that killed the 13-year-old, according to findings of an investigation released by the Mountain View Police Department.

Two weeks after the fatal collision at the corner of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 in Mountain View, the police department released the findings of its investigation in a letter Thursday, March 31.

Andre was riding his bicycle from behind the Alliance gas station in the truck's right-side blind spot and then fell off his bike in front of the truck, police said. The truck driver came to a complete stop at a red light and traffic was clear before he turned right onto eastbound El Camino Real. The driver did not realize he had been involved in the crash until bystanders told him, according to police, who are not releasing the driver's name.

Emergency responders came to the scene of the collision on the morning of March 17 and Andre was transported to the hospital, where he died. An 8th grader at Graham, Andre is being remembered by family and friends as an outgoing kid who loved sports and couldn't wait to start school at Mountain View High in the fall. His death has led to an outpouring of community support, including a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $123,000 for his family.

"The fatal collision that claimed the life of one of our young community members is not one we will soon forget," the police department wrote. "Like you, we have been struggling to comprehend that day."

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

To determine what happened, traffic investigators reviewed footage from video cameras at the scene, conducted interviews and studied the crash site, according to police.

"We, the Mountain View Police Department, appreciate the patience our community has given us as we conducted a meticulous, detailed, and rigorous investigation," police said. "It is not easy to be patient as this work is completed – we know the wait can be difficult."

The intersection of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 has been among the most dangerous in Mountain View. Data from 2018 shows that there were 18 crashes at the intersection in the first half of that year, the most of any intersection citywide.

The city is working with Caltrans, the state agency responsible for El Camino Real, on plans to repave the road in 2023 to add bike lanes, high visibility crosswalks and other safety improvements, according to Mountain View police. The changes will include improving the intersection of El Camino, Grant and 237, police said.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Zoe Morgan
 
Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local law enforcement news. Become a member today.

Police: 13-year-old boy fell off bike before he was fatally struck by truck at Mountain View intersection

Andre Retana fell in front of a construction truck where driver couldn't see him, police say

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Apr 1, 2022, 12:50 pm
Updated: Fri, Apr 1, 2022, 5:26 pm

Graham Middle School student Andre Retana had fallen off his bicycle in front of a construction truck, where the driver could not see him, prior to the March 17 crash that killed the 13-year-old, according to findings of an investigation released by the Mountain View Police Department.

Two weeks after the fatal collision at the corner of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 in Mountain View, the police department released the findings of its investigation in a letter Thursday, March 31.

Andre was riding his bicycle from behind the Alliance gas station in the truck's right-side blind spot and then fell off his bike in front of the truck, police said. The truck driver came to a complete stop at a red light and traffic was clear before he turned right onto eastbound El Camino Real. The driver did not realize he had been involved in the crash until bystanders told him, according to police, who are not releasing the driver's name.

Emergency responders came to the scene of the collision on the morning of March 17 and Andre was transported to the hospital, where he died. An 8th grader at Graham, Andre is being remembered by family and friends as an outgoing kid who loved sports and couldn't wait to start school at Mountain View High in the fall. His death has led to an outpouring of community support, including a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $123,000 for his family.

"The fatal collision that claimed the life of one of our young community members is not one we will soon forget," the police department wrote. "Like you, we have been struggling to comprehend that day."

To determine what happened, traffic investigators reviewed footage from video cameras at the scene, conducted interviews and studied the crash site, according to police.

"We, the Mountain View Police Department, appreciate the patience our community has given us as we conducted a meticulous, detailed, and rigorous investigation," police said. "It is not easy to be patient as this work is completed – we know the wait can be difficult."

The intersection of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 has been among the most dangerous in Mountain View. Data from 2018 shows that there were 18 crashes at the intersection in the first half of that year, the most of any intersection citywide.

The city is working with Caltrans, the state agency responsible for El Camino Real, on plans to repave the road in 2023 to add bike lanes, high visibility crosswalks and other safety improvements, according to Mountain View police. The changes will include improving the intersection of El Camino, Grant and 237, police said.

Comments

Dilip Patel
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:23 pm
Dilip Patel, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:23 pm

The truck involved in the accident on Grant road recently in which a young child of 13 had fatal injuries, could have been avoided, if the traffic is stoped 10 feet away from the crosswalk. This way a high SUV or a large truck can clearly see if the crosswalk is free of any pedestrians or bicyclist, before turning or crossing the crosswalks. This is a very simple but effective way of avoiding such incidents.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

CALTRAN / administered by the state administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Thankfully, this 'lackadaisical' government services organization is Not In Charge of most well-used roadways in our community. When there was a not-so-disimmilar 'dangerous intersection/street' involving Castro St. by Graham Middle School, our City Streets Dept. (and Public Works) 'jumped' at improving it. (I was on the school board at the time).

Traffic Calming required a change in construction (asphalt / protected bike bollards / cement bulb-out curbing ) and HIGH VISIBLE much safer 'crosswalks'.

And support At CITY HALL MEETINGs by Adult Bike Groups, parents, and other bd. members like Trustee Wheeler.

"Yes We Can" / write your state legislator / Becker
[email protected] or by calling my District Office at 650-212-3313, if you have any concerns. -PLEASE, take him up on that-


Bob
Registered user
another community
on Apr 1, 2022 at 9:17 pm
Bob, another community
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2022 at 9:17 pm

The link in the second paragraph (text: "released the findings") merely leads back to a story published by the Voice about 10 days ago. It would be nice if you could link that text to the MVPD letter mentioned in that paragraph.


ssadvweld
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2022 at 1:48 am
ssadvweld, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2022 at 1:48 am

My car has a back up camera that beeps if I'm close to hitting something.
Cameras need to be installed on the front of vehicles as well.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2022 at 8:37 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2022 at 8:37 pm

I didn't realize until a month ago how awful the asphalt is all along El Camino. I haven't checked the site of this collision, but I suspect that the gravel in the roadway had something to do with it.


Andrea Gemmet
Registered user
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:03 pm
Andrea Gemmet, Mountain View Voice Editor
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:03 pm

@ Bob: Thanks for alerting us to the incorrect link in the story. It's been corrected.


Luca
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:28 pm
Luca, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:28 pm

From what I understand, the kid fell on the pedestrian crossing. The truck did not see him, and advanced, killing him.
The problem here is the truck advancing without view of the pedestrian crossing -- there could have been other things going on, there can always be things going on. And more generally, that vehicles start advancing without vision of what's in front of them (an elderly starting to cross? a pedestrian running trying to cross? a kid fallen from a bike?) is very problematic.
What is needed is better truck design, retrofitting them with cameras in the short term, and a rule that trucks should stop far enough behind crossings so that they can see the crossing before starting to move.


AC
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Apr 4, 2022 at 3:06 pm
AC, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 3:06 pm

I'm afraid that with these details now known, I must reinforce my earlier comments:

We need separated/elevated bike/pedestrian walkways at busy/wide intersections. Freeway terminus is a natural and understandably wide and confusing intersection.

If a kid falls off a bike, if a wheelchair loses control, if a pedestrian is talking on the phone while crossing a street... there could be accidents.


Proud Taxpayer
Registered user
Willowgate
on Apr 4, 2022 at 6:33 pm
Proud Taxpayer, Willowgate
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 6:33 pm

In other words: the boy was in the crosswalk, and crossing a green light. The truck had a red light and moved through the crosswalk even though it couldn't verify the crosswalk was empty.
And the MV police are saying a truck with a blind spot in the front is safe for our roads.
Here's hoping the boy's family sues the driver, the truck company, the state, and the city.


AC
Registered user
another community
on Apr 4, 2022 at 9:11 pm
AC, another community
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 9:11 pm

No student should need to ride a bike on a busy, commuter road such as El Camino Real. School bussing might have prevented this tragedy. It's time for schools to start offering student bussing as an transportation option to save lives, reduce traffic, and lessen environmental impacts.

California Senate Bill 878 will do just that. It ensures that California public school students have access to free transportation to and from school each day. To support this bill, contact CA Senator Josh Becker ([email protected]) and ask him to back this bill for the sake of our children.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 2:39 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2022 at 2:39 pm

oh wait - School Bussing - in MVWSD just for kid SAFETY? (bike shuttle?)
- The MVWSD Superintendent was 'given' a $1,000,000+ employment related morgage LOAN

Paid for out of RESERVES. (your tax dollars / not being used / <1% interest)

The MVWSD has 'a larger than Bd. Policy' RESERVES of close to $30,000,000 (close to 30% of annual operating budget). {sorry - this is real money/ that might be used for real kid services} That's Thirty Million Dollars.

[email protected] / they are evaluating the Superintendent TOMORROW. "Chief Administrative Officer". Rudolph and his senior administrative staff want to KEEP and enlarge this OPERATING SURPLUS ("Reserves").

Trustee Laura Blakely is officially designated as the Board's "negotiator" with Rudolph.
[email protected] for "evaluations" input

[email protected] - for contract "negotiator" input.

It's your community money folks / if you either are or are-not a property owner / if you are are-not a voting USA citizen


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 4:35 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Actually - MVWSD Regular Bd. Meeting is Thursday night / maybe now In Person w/ masks
(some seem 'afraid of the Public'?)


Old Steve
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Apr 5, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Old Steve, Rex Manor
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2022 at 5:30 pm

With Fuel prices what they are and widespread concerns about climate change, Let's fire up a fleet of diesel buses after years of encouraging walking & biking for health & climate./S Since El Camino and 237 at that Intersection are both Caltrans, his classmates will graduate COLLEGE before major improvements could be funded, approved, and constructed. Maybe we can devote resources to educating both parents and children about bicycle safety. The City is spending mucho on Green Paint, but I'm not sure even half of cyclists understand riding rules, even in Green Zones.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 6, 2022 at 3:28 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2022 at 3:28 pm

This idea of turning right without full visibility of the path is a big problem. The kid had the right of way, even before the truck turned. What likely happened was the before the video shows the truck actually moving, it revved up engines and released the air brakes. This made a big noise and scared the kid. In trying to get out of the way, he fell off.

Think about it. 13 year old bike riders don't just fall off their bike when riding along. Something startled the kid. I think calling this an unpreventable accident is a huge stretch. The kid had the right of way. He did try to yield none the less, and his falling off was an accident. But should the truck not have checked for oncoming traffic in the pedestrian and bike lanes, as well as the road ahead on El Camino Real?


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2022 at 10:59 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2022 at 10:59 am

In my fantasies, all children would be able to bike to school on paths where they did not need to share the road with cars, on something akin to the Stevens Creek Trail. IMHO, this appears to be the root cause of the problem.

I am still confused about what exactly happened from the descriptions provided, it sounds like Andre was waiting at the corner to cross Grant Rd and tragically chose a spot that was in a blind spot for the truck. I agree with others that if the truck was following the rules of the road, then the rules of the road need to be rewritten to eliminate the possibility of pedestrians being in such blind spots, trucks should stop in a manner that provides full visibility of the intersection and crosswalks. If children are expected to share the road with trucks, then they should be better educated on the risks, but it is more then a little unreasonable to place this burden on children. I wonder how many adults are aware of all truck blind spots? Its not surprising that a child would make such a mistake.

But pouring over Google maps, I cannot help but notice that any children living in the Sahara Mobile Village next to the shopping center have no choice but to travel along El Camino in order to get to Graham (and perhaps even elementary school? I'm not sure where these children are enrolled). There appears to be a wall that separates the mobile village from Martens Ave, on which exists Amy Amai Elementary School.

Seems to me that if a break in that wall was made, and possibly a unit removed from the village, the children would have much easier access to a much safer biking path to Graham, one that would not involve El Camino at all Web Link . Not exactly Stevens Creek Trail, but so much better than what they must face today.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Apr 7, 2022 at 2:25 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2022 at 2:25 pm

The situation is that the truck has a VERY LARGE blind spot constellation. In particular on the right side there is no visibility of the bike lane parallel to the truck as both approach El Camino Real. When the truck is already stopped, a bike can come along and be completely invisible to the truck. Even when the bike then turns left into the crosswalk theoretically IN FRONT of the truck, he's still in the blind spot! You can suspect the truck is probably already intruding into the actual crosswalk in front of it when it is seeking to turn right, but it's at least very close to the crosswalk, waiting. The driver is concentrating on the cars on El Camino Real which have a green light and are crossing in front of the truck in one direction. Then the bike comes along and wants to cross on the same green light but in the other direction. And actual 2 way bike lane beyond the crosswalk MIGHT help this situation, but it's not clear.


Cordelia
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Cordelia, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2022 at 3:11 pm

A 13 year old child was killed while crossing on a green light. Why are we not looking at this from the perspective of the child who did nothing wrong? Why are there no repercussions for the adults involved?

This sends a very ugly message to the younger generations. God help us all.


Juan
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Apr 7, 2022 at 7:32 pm
Juan, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2022 at 7:32 pm

Construction traffic should not be allowed on city streets before, during, and immediately after school hours. If trucks need to drive around town, they need to reach their destination before 7am, and not leave until dusk. These trucks are a hazard. They CANNOT SEE children. This tragedy will repeat unless steps are taken.

Construction traffic and children CANNOT share the streets.


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 6:02 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 6:02 pm

@Juan Grant Rd is a mega construction route. Has been for 15 years and looking at the El Camino Hospital campus plans it will get worse. The city also identified this route as safest for a current school construction project. I received a notification a couple of months ago. It is the cities planning departments job to not just approve these projects without any safe guards. We have a construction boom in my neighborhood. Grant Rd is the only way in and out. The Martens intersection has been improved. Eunice got a turn lane. But we still have a cross walk that is no cross walk at Sleeper. In the news since 2015. Mountain View has a big problem: we approve commercial projects, increase housing projects but do little to develop or make existing infrastructure safer. We approve housing with little parking since we all become cyclists, but that bicycle boulevard is still missing in a lot of neighborhoods. How can the bicycle lane disappear on Grant Rd at Martens? Tuesday night the council will talk about capitol improvement plans, make your voices heard!


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.