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Capitola Woman Dies After Collision With Skateboarder

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CAPITOLA (CBS SF) — A Capitola woman died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained after a skateboarder collided with her as she was crossing the street.

Maryanne Slettehaugh, 83, was pronounced dead at 11:42 p.m. after being knocked unconscious by the collision with a 17-year-old male riding a skateboard, according to Capitola police.

The skateboarder, who has not been named by authorities, was riding down Cliff Drive toward Capitola Village as Slettehaugh was crossing the Stockton Avenue bridge at a pedestrian crosswalk. Police estimated he was traveling at about 15 to 20 mph.

Traffic was backed up on Cliff Drive, and a large truck had stopped to allow Slettehaugh to cross the road. Slettehaugh had just stepped in front of the bicycle lane when the skateboarder collided with her at about 3:10 p.m., knocking her unconscious.

The skateboarder stopped to assist her until medical personnel arrived, according to police. Slettehaugh was transported by helicopter to Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where she died from her injuries, according to police.

Duane Dietz, an employee of the Capitola Venetian Hotel, witnessed the immediate aftermath of the accident.

“I saw it out of the corner of my eye, heard the skateboard, heard yelling and looked up,” he said.

He said from his perspective it appeared that the skateboarder’s vision as he rode down the bicycle lane was obstructed by a truck waiting in traffic.

He said the skateboarder appeared distraught and tried to help Slettehaugh. “He was pretty upset; he was trying to help her. At least he didn’t try to take off. I felt bad for him,” he said.

Police are currently investigating the incident.

Slettehaugh’s husband, George, 83, said he hopes that charges will be filed. “I would hope they would do something,” he said.

George and Maryanne Slettehaugh met in junior high school, dated through high school, and were married in 1947. Originally from Minneapolis, they have lived in Capitola for the last 31 years.

Maryanne Slettehaugh was retired but had previously worked for Bank of America. The couple has three children: two daughters, 51 and 54, and a son, 55.

She had a group of about 10 friends that went to the beach daily. “They went down there every day, the ladies at the beach. That went on for about 20 years,” her husband said.

“She was a nice lady; everybody liked her. She enjoyed walking every day. She’d take a walk around here every day; she had a lot of real popular friends. She was just real nice, and we miss her like crazy,” Slettehaugh said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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