Almanac

News - October 2, 2013

Three emergencies leave two men dead, snarl traffic throughout day

Three emergencies dramatically slowed north-south traffic through Redwood City and Atherton on Friday, including separate incidents that left two men dead.

At 5:46 a.m. on Sept 27, Atherton police were notified of a body lying on the side of Glenwood Avenue near Middlefield Road. Police closed Middlefield Road between Encinal and Oak Grove avenues for much of the day; Middlefield reopened at about 4 p.m. The man, fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver, was Jeffry Zeman, 60, of Redwood City, according to police.

At about 2:15 p.m. the same day, a three-vehicle collision on El Camino Real in Atherton took the life of Ning Lenin Lee, 64, of Redwood City, and left the driver of the car in which Mr. Lee was riding with major injuries, police said. Authorities closed southbound El Camino, and it remained closed into the evening.

Exacerbating the traffic situation was the closure of Woodside Road at El Camino Real — the result of an 8:20 a.m. propane-tank explosion at a U-Haul storage facility in Redwood City that had firefighters draining a 1,000 gallon-tank of propane. El Camino did not reopen until about 4:15 p.m.

Hit and run

Because the Glenwood Avenue site was considered a crime scene, police "locked down" the area to minimize disturbances so that investigators, including the county coroner and crime-lab personnel, could collect evidence without compromising the integrity of what could become a criminal case, Atherton Police Chief Ed Flint said.

The investigation is expected to be lengthy, Chief Flint said. "There are more unknown answers right now than we have questions," he said.

Police issued a news bulletin Friday morning letting residents along Glenwood and Middlefield know that police will be asking for any surveillance video from security cameras to assist in the investigation.

The vehicle that struck the pedestrian drove away and has not been found, Atherton Police Lt. Joe Wade said. Police are asking witnesses or anyone with information on the case to contact the Atherton police at 688-6500. "We have received a couple of phone calls," Chief Flint said.

The Menlo Park City School District had issued morning bulletins warning parents of the Middlefield Road closure, and later asked parents to find alternative routes to pick up their children after school.

Selby Lane collision

Mr. Lee, who had been a passenger in a red Buick Century, died at Stanford Hospital later that day. The Buick's driver, a 55-year-old Cupertino man, suffered major injuries but is expected to make a full recovery, Officer David Metzger of the Atherton Police Department told the Almanac.

The Buick was making a left turn onto Selby Lane from northbound El Camino Real when it was hit broadside by a southbound silver Honda Acura driven by a 21-year-old East Palo Alto man, police said. The force of the collision pushed the Buick into the side of a white Ford van turning onto El Camino from Selby Lane, police said.

Investigators have not yet made a determination as to who was at fault in the Selby lane accident, but are "close to it," Officer Metzger said.

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