News

Services set for Menlo Park couple killed by alleged drunken driver

Driver's arraignment postponed

A private funeral service for Balbir and Kamal Kaur Singh will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, followed by a public memorial on Thursday, Oct. 31, according to Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward. The family has asked that no media attend the services, staff said.

Photos, flowers and mementos have appeared on the path along Chilco Street where an alleged drunken driver killed the Menlo Park couple on Oct. 24 as they walked their dog. They leave behind three teenage children.

The driver, Marjorie Ann Reitzell, 54, of Redwood City was arrested on two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of felony driving under the influence, Menlo Park Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini said. Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she had a valid driver's license at the time of Thursday's tragedy, according to law enforcement officials.

A preliminary screen showed that her blood alcohol on Oct. 24 was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Ms. Reitzell was booked into jail over the weekend and scheduled for arraignment on Monday. However, just before court started, she complained of chest pains and was removed for medical treatment, according to the district attorney's office. The judge continued the arraignment. She remains in custody on $2 million bail.

Fatal collision

Streetlights but no sidewalks line the side of Chilco Street where Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Singh, 45, were walking their Chihuahua in the bike lane eastbound on Chilco Street, west of Constitution Drive, at around 6:50 p.m. when they were hit from behind by a 1998 Honda Accord driven by Ms. Reitzell, according to police.

Investigators said the Honda kept going, over the center median and into the westbound lane. It hit another car, causing minor damage but not injuring four passengers. The Honda then collided with a tree before finally stopping.

Police arrived minutes after a 6:54 p.m. call reported seeing two bodies in the road. Menlo Park Fire Protection District personnel arrived and pronounced the couple dead at the scene.

Ms. Reitzell, alone in her car, complained of pain at the scene. Officers said they detected signs of alcohol intoxication. She was taken to Stanford Medical Center for treatment before being released to the jail.

The couple's injured dog, Teddy, was turned over to the Peninsula Humane Society, which took him to the North Peninsula Emergency Veterinary Clinic for treatment.

PHS representative Scott Delucchi told the Almanac on Monday (Oct. 28) that Teddy, who had suffered head trauma, was "doing much better," improving daily, and that he may go home in the next few days.

'He loved his family'

Mr. Singh worked in materials handling since 2007, when he was hired at AngioScore, a maker of medical devices with about 100 employees headquartered in Fremont.

Human resources representative Lucy Gopinath shared a few memories. "He was a really nice guy, very hard working and friendly," she said. "Ours is a small company, so we all knew each other. We're collecting funds for his kids. ... We all observed a moment of silence for him."

Asked about his life outside work, Ms. Gopinath replied, "He loved his family, that much I know."

The company learned of the tragedy, Ms. Gopinath said, when a couple of employees came running with the news, which the company then confirmed with the family. "We've been crying all day," she said.

Wife Kamal worked at a Walgreens in Mountain View. Customers, describing her as friendly and very helpful, said she is missed.

Relatives are reported to be looking after the couples' children -- an 18-year-old daughter, a 17-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son.

A public memorial service on Thursday will be held at 10 a.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes funeral home located at 32992 Mission Boulevard in Hayward.

Almanac staff writer Dave Boyce contributed to this report.

Comments

Posted by Tricia, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Oct 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

How terribly tragic for this loving family. I cannot possibly imagine you are walking with your loved one on a quiet street and POOF you're dead ! Throw away the KEY for this stupid, selfish B...H who did this and forever ruined a family! After ONE DUI with accident (injury or not) CDL should be revoked. Too many of these nowadays.


Posted by Tanya, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 30, 2013 at 12:27 am

This is such a horrible tragedy. I still can't believe that the dog survived this accident. I made a donation to the Peninsula Humane Society to help pay for their poor dogs medical treatment. If your interested, call them up and ask to speak to Lisa. God Bless to this poor family!


Posted by justathought, a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2013 at 11:34 pm

The One that created us never intended for this dear couple or any of us to pass away tragically or unexpectedly (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Rather, His original purpose for mankind is to live forever, and to never even grow old and die. (Romans 6:23) He guarantees that he will bring our loved ones back from death, and we can be on hand to see them again if we learn about Him and His purposes, and act on what we learn. (John 17:3)


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