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Mountain View police release findings of investigation into crash that killed 13-year-old

Original post made on Apr 1, 2022

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 fatal March 17 crash, according to an investigation by Mountain View police.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 1, 2022, 12:50 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by Dilip Patel
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:23 pm

Dilip Patel is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

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-


Posted by Bob
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2022 at 9:17 pm

Bob is a registered user.

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.


Posted by ssadvweld
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 2, 2022 at 1:48 am

ssadvweld is a registered user.

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.


Posted by ivg
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2022 at 8:37 pm

ivg is a registered user.

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.


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

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

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


Posted by Luca
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 4, 2022 at 2:28 pm

Luca is a registered user.

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.


Posted by AC
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 4, 2022 at 3:06 pm

AC is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 4, 2022 at 6:33 pm

Proud Taxpayer is a registered user.

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.


Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2022 at 9:11 pm

AC is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

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]wsd.org. 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


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 4:35 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

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


Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 5, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

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.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2022 at 3:28 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

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?


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 7, 2022 at 10:59 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

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.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2022 at 2:25 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Cordelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Cordelia is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 7, 2022 at 7:32 pm

Juan is a registered user.

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.


Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 6:02 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@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!


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