Menlo Park: Trial underway in double DUI fatality

Marjorie Reitzell faces second-degree murder charges

Nearly two years has passed, but the second-degree murder trial of Marjorie Reitzell finally got underway with opening statements on May 7. The 55-year-old Menlo Park woman is charged with the deaths of a couple who were walking their dog when they were struck by her car as she drove along Chilco Street.

The Oct. 24, 2013, crash killed Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Kaur Singh, 45. The couple left behind three teenage children.

The 1998 Honda Accord driven by Ms. Reitzell struck the couple from behind, according to police, before bounding over the median into the westbound lane, where it hit another car that held four teenagers and then ran into a tree.

A test reportedly showed that her blood alcohol level that night was 0.23 percent, more than twice the legal limit, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she was on probation and had a valid driver's license at the time of the fatal collision, according to law enforcement officials.

Mr. Wagstaffe said that her probation officer had warned the defendant that she could kill someone by drinking and driving. Mr. Wagstaffe said she had engaged in a "lengthy pattern of drinking on the day of the offense" and had caused a non-injury collision earlier that same day.

Ms. Reitzell is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, causing injury while driving under the influence, and repeat driving under the influence with enhancements for injuring more than one person and for allegedly having a blood alcohol level higher than 0.15 percent.

The prosecution continued to present its evidence in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday, May 12.

Attorney Richard Keyes, appointed by the court to represent Ms. Reitzell, did not respond to a request for comment. He plans to present a defense that claims the couple's dog ran into the road and his client swerved to avoid the animal, striking the Singhs by accident, according to trial notes from the District Attorney's Office.

She remains in custody on $2 million bail.

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10 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm

pogo is a registered user.

Ms. Reitzell is a repeat offender and a danger to our safety.

She needs to be put away for a very long time. I hope the judge and jury see it that way!

Like this comment
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Should be an interesting trail, especially if she testifies in her own defense as indicated in another paper. One of her friends told the police that a half bottle of wine was consumed by Ms. Reitzell the day of the accident. AND her recorded statement she gave to police should be interesting.

5 people like this
Posted by Oldguy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm

1/2 a bottle of wine would not be nearly enough to account for her blood alcohol which was close to triple the .08 % limit. She is clearly an alcoholic who should never be behind the wheel again.

2 people like this
Posted by East of 101
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 13, 2015 at 9:08 am

1 split second , 1 wrong choice, 1 reality.

6 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

pogo is a registered user.

It wasn't a "split second." The drunk is not only a repeat offender, this wasn't even her first car accident THAT DAY.

This was no accident. If you let her drive again, she'll probably injure or kill others.

Like this comment
Posted by A Reader
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2015 at 7:37 pm

[Post removed. Please be careful about convicting someone on Town Square before they are convicted.]

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

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