Portola Valley man dies in single-car accident


A single-vehicle accident around 7:10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the intersection of Portola and Alpine roads claimed the life of the vehicle's only occupant, 70-year-old Portola Valley resident John Sidensol, according to the officials with the Santa Clara County Coroner's Office and the Woodside Fire Protection District.

When medics arrived, the vehicle was resting against a tree and the driver was in "full arrest," meaning he had no pulse and was not breathing, Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso of the Woodside fire district told the Almanac.

Because witnesses reported seeing what might have been erratic driving leading up to the accident, medics took into account the possibility that the driver had a medical condition and took steps to try to resuscitate him, the chief said. The district took the extra step of sending two additional medics with the ambulance to continue CPR and related procedures on the way to the hospital, the chief said.

Mr. Sidensol was pronounced dead at Stanford Hospital.

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26 people like this
Posted by Penny
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Rest in peace, John. You were a good friend and you will be missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to know you.

13 people like this
Posted by JM
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2016 at 10:09 am

A good man, and former dedicated leader of Alpine Little League.

I'll miss seeing you at Zots, and will forever raise a glass in the direction of your shaded table!

17 people like this
Posted by mark
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on May 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Though I never knew John I know his last act in life was heroic. I was there Saturday morning as his car came head-on toward me at 50+mph. I had just come to a stop heading eastbound at the stop sign on Alpine (at Portola Rd). Though he had lost control of his foot, which had the gas pedal floored, he somehow had enough control and wherewithal to navigate his car between my right side and the hillside (on the bike path). His side-view mirror was all that nicked my car, narrowly avoiding a head-on at high speed. He continued on missing the car behind me, also with the narrowest of margin, before impacting a tree and coming to rest. He was unresponsive when we got to him. Though we pulled him from his car as quickly as we could and began CPR, but never found a pulse. The paramedics were there in 7 minutes, but sadly were unable to revive him.

I have reflected on what happened many times over the last few days and despite what trauma John was under I really believe John's last act of avoiding a high speed head-on collision was intentional. John may you rest in peace.

4 people like this
Posted by Katie Wilson
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on May 14, 2016 at 9:46 am


On behalf of John's family, thank you for your post and for your heroic efforts to save our dad. We are so grateful. We would love to connect with you if you are willing.

Katie Wilson (John's youngest daughter)

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