Town Square

Los Altos man arrested in fatal El Monte crash

Original post made on Apr 7, 2016

The driver involved in a Mountain View crash last year that killed a pedestrian will be facing criminal charges, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. The driver, whose name has just been released, was identified as Los Altos resident Glenn Tad Kawaguchi, 61.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 7, 2016, 3:09 PM


Posted by Amber Kerr
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm

That is a really dangerous intersection. Even before the fatal accident, whenever I had to cross there, I always looked both ways twice and then rushed across El Monte as fast as I could. Sad that it takes a fatality to bring about the needed attention.

Posted by Jimmy
a resident of North Bayshore
on Apr 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Up to a year in jail for killing someone? Sure he didn't mean to kill the pedestrian, but is that what a life is worth nowadays?

Posted by Kathy
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

I agree with Amber-we live just off El Monte near the Springer/El Monte stop sign and that whole stretch is dangerous. My heart goes out to the victim's family and I wish the city is looking into measures to calm traffic in this corridor. On the other hand, given that the driver was not a "hit and run", under the influence of illegal substances or engaged in texting/cell phone use (he wasn't) what good will it do society to put a father, husband and community member in prison for one year or longer? It will not bring back the victim. And after having seen the Montalvo family at a Mountain City Hall meeting after the accident, their focus seemed to be much more on putting measures in place to make sure this kind of tragedy doesn't happen again, and much less on extracting punishment from the driver of the car. To Jimmy from North Bayshore I ask, how many of us out there can honestly say that they they NEVER once drove while tired, or distracted or maybe before their defogger totally kicked in in the chilly early AM? I am fairly certain that the mental punishment the driver and his family are going through are ten times worse than the punishment of a year in jail, as horrible as that may be. I say we all learn from this heartbreaking occurrence and in moving on, try to prevent history from repeating itself.

Posted by JW
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm

^^ I 100% Agee with Kathy. We need to fix the intersection. The driver, as long as he wasn't intoxicated/on drugs/high/driving 65mph has likely been up all night every night since the crash in agony over this accident. It wasn't a hit and run.

I wish the family could decide if they wanted charges pressed or not in cases like these. Our jails are needed for felons, not fathers who made human mistakes.

Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:42 am

The city is just CYA by criminally charging this man instead of fixing the intersection. This location has been known safety hazard for decades. A simple fix to just lower the speed limit could be done immediately.

Posted by You can't fix drivers with signs
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 11:08 am

Yes, a speed limit reduction would be a simple fix. Its just sad that the vast majority of drivers ignore speed limits, or figure going 10 MPH over the limit is just fine.

MV citizens are clamoring from help by the police to begin to reel in the dangerous drivers plaguing our roads. This looks to be a start. If you think this could have been you having to deal with this, it could have been, easily. Drivers slowing down: The only fix that will work.

Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Speed limit signs along with narrowing the lanes and increased enforcement can be implemented quickly and cheaply. Wide lanes at intersections do encourage reckless driving and make pedestrians harder to see.

Posted by d man
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

I agree with Jimmy everyone is talking about the intersection what about the tragic loss of life someones mom, sister or wife ? This guy gets 1 year ? Horrific.

Posted by This is not an "oops"
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:06 pm

To The people who are inclined to excuse Glenn's failure to stop.

Killing a pedestrian is not what every driver does on a daily, monthly, yearly basis! Most drivers stop for pedestrians!

So please don't excuse the fact that Glenn was directly and solely responsible for striking Michelle and nearly hitting and killing her sister as well!

Please stop think about why any excuse is justified. Would the excuses still be offered if:

1. If glenn had "accidentally" fired a handgun and killed someone would it be less excusable?

2. If Glenn was a professional driver (taxi, truck, etc.) is Michelle's death some how more acceptable?

3. If Michelle was 12 years old or 8 years old, Or if Michelle had been pushing a baby in a stroller?

Would anyone still feel comfortable offering the same excuses?

Why is it acceptable just because the "weapon" was a car and not a gun?

Why is it acceptable just because Michelle is older and not a child.

Kids go to that shopping center all the time. Next time (and I hope there is no next time) it could be a child.

I do not want to live in any town that willingly accepts deaths that are preventable.

Posted by Terrible
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:08 pm

The comments from the anti-pedestrian mafia is sickening. If a driver is negligent in their driving that results in serious harm or death of another, there should be criminal penalties. Stop blaming the pedestrians who are trying to cross a street in a crosswalk!

if the VTA BRT dedicated lane was built, this tragedy would never have happened. Shame on those who fight this life-saving project!

Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm

"if the VTA BRT dedicated lane was built, this tragedy would never have happened."

What astounding "logic." These were pedestrians out walking, and the car in question traveled PERPENDICULAR to ECR. Moreover, VTA itself concedes that removing a traffic lane from ECR would cause spillover to neighborhood streets (like the one where this occurred) of unbounded and possibly dramatic magnitude. (Was that just another posting by one of those VTA employees or shills such as those who were more than once involuntarily exposed after speaking at City Council meetings?)

Talk about shame -- peddling that dogmatic little agenda, in the usual contemptuous language, on a thread about a local resident who was killed!

Posted by KB
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm

> if the VTA BRT dedicated lane was built, this tragedy would never have happened.

You talk about sickening, and make this about a bus? Explain to me please how a bus lane a quarter of a mile away on a different road, that wouldn't even stop near El Monte would solve one *single* part of this. Trying to use a tragedy to further an unrelated political goal is what's sick.

What *would* help solve this is to put those flashing LED crosswalk markers in place. A button on each side of the crosswalk turns on bright, blinking road dots. Solar powered blinking signs like were put in recently at the Springer/El Monte intersection not far down the road could help too.

@This is not an "oops":

There is a distinct difference between saying a driver may not deserve jail time for an accident such as this and *victim blaming*. No one said anything at all about it being a pedestrian's fault. It wasn't. And we can argue till we're all blue in the face as to whether the driver is at fault or not, but no one was there to see for certain the exact circumstances of the accident, but without any evidence of negligent wrongdoing (texting, DUI, speeding, etc) on the driver's part, how would jail time help anyone?

The fact of the matter is that this intersection is not safe, pedestrians can be hard to see. The accident occurred at the time of day where visibility was at its worst, and the driver appears to have otherwise been following the law, from what we can tell. (Saying so is not blaming the victim(s)) It's awful, and I feel terrible for everyone involved. No one should have to deal with this sort of anguish. But I am comfortable saying that yes, even if the victim had been in a different demographic as you lay out, with other circumstances surrounding the incident being the same, I wouldn't think criminal charges and jail time would *necessarily be justified*, but that's what a trial is supposed to be for, should they choose to bring charges.

Posted by This is not an "oops"
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 8, 2016 at 4:08 pm

@KB -

> "And we can argue till we're all blue in the face as to whether the driver is at fault or not, but no one was there to see for certain the exact circumstances of the accident"

Actually this is not true:

1. Delia was there

2. Glenn was there

3. Other drivers were there as witnesses

4. The gas station across the street has security camera footage of the crash.

Additionally, this wasn't an "accident". An accident is something unavoidable, and act of god. This was completely avoidable if Glenn had stayed focused on the primary responsibility of a driver: "do not get into a crash, see and avoid all other road users - no matter what actions they take" In this case Delia and Michelle were a considerable distance across the road.

> "pedestrians can be hard to see"

If TWO grown women in the middle of a crosswalk are hard to see by a driver, then that driver should not be driving. If a pedestrian is so hard to see then the driver should be driving slow enough to stop in time.

> "I am comfortable saying that yes, even if the victim had been in a different demographic"

So under what circumstances should an indifferent driver be allowed to kill? Does this mean any driver can fail to stop for any pedestrian / bicyclist and is o.k?

It is interesting that if the person is driving unimpaired that that some how excuses their inattentiveness that results in another's death.

Why is it o.k. for drivers to kill?

Posted by KB
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm

I encourage you, all of you out there, to look back on your life at one of those times where you had a close call. Everyone has one. Normally you're on your game, normally you pay attention. But for some reason that one time you missed something. Maybe you nearly clipped a bicyclist or pedestrian that for whatever reason, you just didn't see until after you passed them. Maybe a dog ran into the road. Maybe it was a young child. Maybe you made a turn and misjudged another car's speed, horn suddenly blaring behind you as you sheepishly finished your turn or slammed your brakes. Maybe you nearly hit someone in your blind spot as you changed lanes. But you didn't hit them. Maybe your reflexes were quick enough. Maybe you were lucky. It was a close call.

This sort of thing happens to everyone. Everyone has close calls, and when they do, they think back afterward as to what happened. Most people modify their behavior consciously or otherwise, in at least some small way to avoid being in such a situation again. The adrenaline surge and the realization what you had nearly done is enough on its own to change your future behavior, at least for a while. You wait that extra second at stop signs, slow down a little extra at crosswalks, stop a little longer at blind turns or swivel your head further when you change lanes. You did these things before, but now you're extra careful. You had a glimpse of what could have been and it changed you.

But what if your reaction time had been slower? What if your gaze was a few degrees further away, or you were sipping your morning coffee, you were lost in thought, listening to the radio, imagining dinner, talking to your significant other, or your child in the back seat. Anything. Anything at all.

Most people try to be good, to follow the rules. I'm sure you do. I do too. You know the things you should do, and you do them the best you can. You're trying your hardest, but you're imperfect. You're not your best possible self every second of every day. Sometimes you fail. What if that time, instead of a close call, instead of the near miss that it was, it wasn't a miss. What if you had hit that person? What if you had killed that person? If it had been you. Really think about that.

That one, two seconds of your life, just the tiniest bit different. No ill intent. No major difference in your actions. Just the most momentary lapse in attention, or longer reaction time. but it was enough. A person died because of you. Would you deserve to be jailed? That tiny difference, however tragic, would it really change things?

Don't think about this as 'someone else'. It's too easy to say what someone else should have done differently, that someone else deserves punishment for what they did. You would never do that. But if you had? Think about if it were you. If you were following the law, doing your level best, but instead of a close call, you had ended someone's life, how would you feel? Would you deserve jail? Maybe you think you would. But would being imprisoned make the world better? Would locking you up and taking you away from your family make up for what you did? Or is the magnitude of your guilt liable to be punishment worse than any of that? For any other punishment dealt to you by the state, what purpose would it really serve? Is it really correcting your actions? Is it really Justice or is it something else? Revenge for the wronged? Blood for blood? Do you think you would deserve to be the object of that revenge, the source of that blood? What good would come of that? And do you really think that you would ever let that sort of thing happen again?

Of course it's not okay. Any person's death is not okay. But if it had been you behind that wheel, would it be any different?

Posted by Look while you walk
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Most people keep an eye out for cars even when they are in a pedestrian crossing. This is a wise policy. The car is more visible due to the lighting and its size. It's easier for pedestrians to see cars at a distance, even a short distance, than vice versa.

This was an accident because it was not 100% avoidable. The fact that there are calls to improve the intersection prove that out. But no pedestrian is 100% free of the need to keep an eye out for cars when crossing at a crosswalk when there are no cars stopped already. It also is a concern when there is a light and the light goes green. The pedestrian in the crosswalk has the right of way but I was once run into by a car which started even though I was still crossing ( but close to the curb). He was in the rightmost lane and his eyes were on the light, not me. So you have to be vigilant even as a pedestrian.

Posted by This is not an "oops"
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 8, 2016 at 10:27 pm


The prosecutor charged Glenn with a crime. Are you saying that it is o.k. to commit a crime if the perpetrator is really, really sorry that their actions had unexpectedly bad consequences?

Web Link

> 21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to
a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or
within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise
provided in this chapter.
> (b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of
using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly
leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path
of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a
marked or unmarked crosswalk.
> (c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any
marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall
reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to
the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of
the pedestrian.
> (d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from
the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian
within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an

You are full of sympathy and understanding for drivers but none for the victim.

>Maybe you nearly clipped a bicyclist or pedestrian that for whatever reason, you just didn't see until after you passed them.

So other peoples lives are destroyed because a driver is careless and unattentive? And the driver should suffer no consequences to destroying lives?

> The adrenaline surge and the realization what you had nearly done is enough on its own to change your future behavior, at least for a while.

... I like that "at least for a while"

I have a strict rule about driving, I don't drive any faster than I can stop.

I look at everyone walking or near the road. I keep a mental map of all times of everyone around me.

Once a police officer pulled me over. As part of the questioning, he asked if I had noticed some pedestrians. I was able to describe them exactly and what they were doing. And these pedestrians were on the sidewalk.

I clearly was alert and paying attention. This is the way I train everyone I teach how to drive.

Maybe I should take you out for a lesson.

So.... no I don't learn how to drive by nearly killing mothers and children.

Posted by Scott
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 8, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Part of the problem of having poorly managed roadways is that people get frustrated trying to get from one place to another. I see so many red light runners in mountain view, and I'm guessing part of it is has to do with how godawful-tedious it is to commute just 1-2 miles. People seem to start saying [Portion removed due to offensive language] when they're driving and the danger goes way up.

I guess the jury will decide, but I'm shocked they still haven't lowered the speed limit. [Portion removed due to offensive language] their studies, reducing speeds should be done immediately if there's ever any doubt. [Portion removed due to offensive language]

Posted by More common sense
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 8, 2016 at 11:26 pm

Horrible accident, horrible effect for both families (I don't know either). SoLution; remove that particular crosswalk. There is one just 100ft away on El Camino, why even have one in this weird location where cars coming off ECR aren't expecting a pedestrian to cross?

Posted by KB
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 9, 2016 at 8:03 pm

@This is not an "oops"

I'm glad you drive the way that you do. I do it too. That's a strategy that makes a person a safer driver. I think most people operate in a fairly similar manner, but no one is perfect at it all the time.

Our disagreement seems to be more philosophical than it is tied to this specific case. I'm not an idealist, and I don't hold the whole world up to standards of ethical and operational perfection at all times. I can't. It would be nice if no one ever did anything bad, but it isn't remotely realistic. The world doesn't work that way and it is not a fair place. Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes other good people are responsible for those bad things, but being responsible and being culpable are different. This difference may be a subtle one, but it is at the core of my argument, and quite possibly yours as well.

Your position seems to be that if a person is found to be in violation of any law for any reason, that they should be punished to the fullest possible extent. A violation of a law is the vary thing that makes a person culpable, and there must be significant consequences or it represents a miscarriage of justice. Am I correct here? If that is true, then I simply do not share your views. Being in violation of a law does not make a person inherently immoral or inherently culpable. It has been said that everyone commits three federal felonies a day, most unknowingly. I doubt you are any different, and it doesn't make someone less of a good person if they aren't. I, too, believe there should be justice, but to me, that does not simply mean punishment. True justice should not be meted out with a hammer, it should make a bad thing less likely to happen again. Part of that means making the intersection safer for everyone, and as another commenter said above, even the victim's family may want this part more. Would that not be justice? Justice weighs all parts of a situation against each other, and if a person is responsible for something, but not necessarily culpable, then that person does not deserve the fullest possible punishment. The punishment itself may be unjust.

A person died here, and an investigation must be committed. That is why we have a justice system to begin with. If a trial must be part of that investigation, then so be it. We, that is, neither of us, actually know all the facts of the case. The DA's office saw fit to bring charges against the driver. They clearly have a case to make. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances. Maybe there aren't. Maybe the man does deserve jail time. But people on the internet arguing about these things are unlikely to have the full perspective required to make these determinations.

I'm not saying that a person's death is okay. I'm not saying I have no sympathy for victims, and I'm certainly not saying that a culpable person should get away without punishment. But accidents do happen, and there's not always someone that deserves to go to jail when they do. Sometimes a person dies because of another, but it's possible that no one is truly culpable. My real hope is that our justice system is up to the task of making this distinction.

Posted by Me
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 9, 2016 at 10:42 pm

We are talking about the crosswalk at marich way, right?

Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2016 at 3:50 am

What about the man who was killed at the intersection of El Camino and
San Antonio last year ( I think ). A guy was mowed down on San Antonio
in front of the New Safeway by someone coming at a straight shot from
Los Altos on San Antonio.

There was never a clear report of what happened and why the driver
was not charged. It would be interesting to know the story there. What
was the difference with this case?

Posted by This is not an "oops"
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 10, 2016 at 9:23 am


My observations:

1. You spend 4 paragraphs justifying why it is o.k. to feel sympathy toward Glenn.

2. You minimize Michelle's, her loss and her family's loss by not even mentioning Michelle by name. This has the effect of dehumanizing Michelle.

3. you only mention "the victim" in passing at the very end - and not even by name.

4. You bring out the irrelevant myth about violating "3 federal laws". This is irrelevant because violating those laws in most cases doesn't result in death. In this case we are not talking about violating the 3ounce liquid rule on airplanes - we are talking about death.

5. You conflate my asking for *consequences* beyond "feeling bad" with asking for punishment for violating the law. No, I am asking for punishment for *killing someone else*

So to summarize:

1. I think there should be consequences to *killing someone*

2. You think that we should understand that this is just a minor traffic violation deserving a $200 fine.

Posted by let'sgetreal
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 10, 2016 at 1:54 pm

I like the lighted crosswalks that blink, using red lights. THAT crosswalk on El Monte definately needs one of those. I've seen motorcycle cops sitting there, but in the end, we need something to catch the driver's attention, not a ticket. AND downtown Mountain View crosswalks on Castro. I have almost hit someone at night, people don't look, they just step right out into the crosswalk - and there isn't much light at night down there.

Posted by Crosswalks
a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Comment after comment talks about the crosswalk and even about eliminating it. But there are TWO marked crosswalks across El Monte at Marich. It's a simple step to consolidate these into just ONE marked crosswalk.

Posted by Marie
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 10, 2016 at 9:25 pm

The crosswalk in question has to be eliminated or completely redone by the city. As a driver, there are many distractions with multiple signs, businesses on both sides of the street, bus stop with people standing, pine trees and redwood trees that block the visibility of pedestrians, the memorial for the victim, the outdated left hand turn lane going into the Office Depot/McDonald's area, the yellow flashing caution lights coming off of ECR facing oncoming traffic making a left turn into Office Depot area, the traffic coming off of ECR turning left onto El Monte, etc....
Just this afternoon, I stopped for 2 pedestrians in this crosswalk and two cars did not. They drove through the crosswalk and the drivers did not see the people walking. Also, I witnessed a driver making a left hand turn on El Monte out of Office Depot area into on-coming one-way traffic. Our population has exploded in Mountain View and our infrastructure cannot handle the massive amount of people living and working here now.
City of Mountain View...address this area once and for all before another life is lost.

Posted by eliminate all crosswalks`
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 11, 2016 at 2:03 am

If the problem can be partially solved by eliminating 1 crosswalk then we should eliminate all crosswalks. That way pedestrians know that they better get out of my way. This is just like it is in India.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

I agree with marie, this is a VERY confusing area full of distractions. I don't understand why they don't just eliminate the crosswalk, it makes no sense to have it there when just 100 feet away there is a clearly market crosswalk with stoplight. Can anyone give one good reason why it shouldn't just be eliminated?

No. Instead we're going to have months of debate and subjective discussion on what should be done, and then spend millions for flashing lights (which also don't work that well) and new stoplights and repainting and so many more things that wouldn't be needed at all if we just SIMPLY REMOVE THE CROSSWALK. But that's too much common sense.

@Plane Speaker the person who was "mowed down" on San Antonio wasn't crossing in a crosswalk and the poor guy who hit him probably didn't see him as the guy BOLTED across the street.

Posted by bummed out
a resident of Slater
on Apr 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm

All intersections pose real danger to pedestrians and that specific intersection is not the only one. May be it is more dangerous. With Too many careless drivers on our roads these days, pedestrians need to be extra extra careful. Drivers are too distracted by too many things and they seem to be in a hurry all the time and they are driving way too fast everywhere. I can't imagine the pain the victim's family going thru right now and every day. I think drivers need to pay attention to roads and stop for pedestrians all the time instead of overlooking them purposely. And pedestrians need to make eye contact with the drives to make sure they can cross safely. Intersection between california and crisanto on Rengstroff is really dangerous in spite of the blinking lights, because I see drivers driving fast in spite of the blinking lights.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 14, 2016 at 8:54 am

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

I just read the article about this on the Los Altos Crier and if you haven't yet I suggest you do. It is a very good piece of investigative reporting, provides far more details than this article that seems to only want to paint a picture of an issue with a crosswalk.

Posted by resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 14, 2016 at 1:08 pm

The LA Crier article says there were 2 pedestrians walking in the crosswalk and had already crossed a couple of lanes before the slower pedestrian was hit. The fact that there were 2 pedestrians in the crosswalk makes it more curious how the driver did not see either of them.

Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 14, 2016 at 6:40 pm

1) It was very early in the morning, low light and poor visibility.
2) this crosswalk is in a ridiculous place, on a curve which again makes for poor visibility.

I've said it multiple times. Any pedestrian that doesn't yield to an oncoming car is placing their own life at risk. Sad but it's fact and ACCIDENTS happen. You can keep arguing fault all you want but from my end? I don't cross a street when a car is coming, not worth my life.

Posted by So sad
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Google says that sunrise was at 7:23am on the day of the accident, 10-22-16. The accident happened at 6:35am. In other words, the accident occurred about 50 minutes before sunrise, while it was still dark. And the victim was wearing dark clothing. It is also possible that the Prius was blocking the other driver's view of the pedestrians. So I understand how the driver might not have seen the pedestrians. My questions are: Did the pedestrians not see the headlights of the oncoming vehicles? If not, why not? If they did see the headlights, why did the pedestrians cross the road anyway? And why did the victim and her sister continue to cross after the Prius narrowly missed them? (I would think the natural reaction would be to pause or retreat). How much did the drugs impair judgement? Why did the arrest happen so many months after the accident? There aren't enough details in the article to answer these questions, but this is what I am puzzling over. My intent is not to blame the victim, but rather to point out that the driver also appears to be a victim in this awful situation.