Atherton woman arrested in hit-and-run

Bystanders took car keys away

A 62-year-old Atherton woman was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence during a chaotic exit from a Menlo Park parking plaza at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Police said the driver's vehicle struck parked cars twice, injuring two people. Each time, bystanders came to the rescue, helping a man pinned between two parked cars, and taking the keys from the suspect after her car collided with a tree, police said.

Margaret Brill was booked into the San Mateo County jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless driving, and hit-and-run with injury, according to Nicole Acker, a spokesperson for the Menlo Park Police Department.

Police said it began when she was backing out of a parking space in the plaza behind the 600 block of Santa Cruz Avenue. Her vehicle rammed a parked car, which then struck another car, pinning a man between them, police said.

Several bystanders pulled the cars apart and freed the victim, police said. Firefighters with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District assisted the man, who was taken to Stanford Hospital with "non-life threatening injuries," Ms. Acker said in a statement.

Without stopping, the car pulled out onto Curtis Avenue before fishtailing on Santa Cruz Avenue, striking two more vehicles. Her car stopped after leaping the center median into a tree, according to the police department.

A woman in one of the parked vehicles received minor injuries, but was not hospitalized, police said.

Call 330-6300 to contact police about this case.

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by MADD
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 7, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Mandatory jail time for all drunk drivers.

Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:41 am

Here Here..Jail time instead of a hand slap followed by community service including 1st offenders

Like this comment
Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

DUI accident causing injury -- I believe that's a felony. Even with a great (expensive) lawyer, I think she's facing a stiff fine, loss of license for an extended period, participation in the drunk-driving classes for weeks, significant jail time or community service, increased car insurance rates, probation, and probably a handful of civil lawsuits.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Yes, it will be expensive but then she lives in Atherton. Bt then, who knows, [portion deleted}. Hope she has fun thinking about her drinking and driving.

Nice of the citizens to help the people injured by this person.

Like this comment
Posted by Manny
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Was there yesterday - she was completely catatonic. No emotion whatsoever. It was very scary.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm

We should pray for her. I wonder what is happening in her life that she is drinking too much and putting others in harms way. I'm sure that she does not want to hurt anyone but she must be hurting inside herself to act like this. I hope that she gets help.

Like this comment
Posted by Readitagain
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm

The article describes very bizarre driving behavior but only a "suspicion of driving under the influence." If that were the case, wouldn't she have been given some evaluation (breatholizer, walk-the-line, interrogation, etc.)right on the spot? Was this done? No mention of it. Why not? No smell of alcohol? Or is this the wife of someone the police know? Is this another scandal brewing? Or might the poor woman simply be the victim of a stroke rather than alcohol abuse? Readers shouldn't jump to such quick conclusions. Will be interesting to read, if we ever do, how this plays out for Ms. Brill.

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 8, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I just wanted to thank "readitagain" for asking us all to keep an open mind. I have to admit that just I assumed a lot about this story without knowing anything--scared myself!! good reminder.

Like this comment
Posted by D. Ravey
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

"Readitagain": The driver refused to take a field sobriety test, so she was arrested and taken to the police station for a mandatory blood sample to determine whether she had alcohol or drugs in her blood. That's not stated in this article, but it is in several others in other publications.

I was there, too, a block away, and walked up to see what happened, after waiting to insure that I wasn't just adding to the curious throng and impeding the public safety officers in handling the situation. I agree that the driver appeared unmoved by her situation as she sat on the curb, being interviewed by an officer. But that's hard to asses. I suppose she could have been on a prescribed medication, or had neglected to take a required medication. Let's not pre-judge what happened until we have more facts.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,677 views

Summer Cooking Classes - Free!
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,581 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,230 views

More Bad News: Downtown Parking Will Get Much Worse
By Dana Hendrickson | 11 comments | 1,117 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 977 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More