Runner says she was struck by car | April 17, 2013 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - April 17, 2013

Runner says she was struck by car

• Gray car fled scene.

by Sandy Brundage

A 61-year-old woman jogging along Ringwood Avenue in Menlo Park was left bruised and shaken after a hit-and-run encounter with a car, she said.

"I thought, my gosh, that thing's coming right at me," she told the Almanac. "I jumped into the bushes and still got hit by the side mirror. By the time I pulled myself out they'd sped off — I could hear tires squealing."

A frequent runner, the victim said she was facing traffic, carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing. The road was straight and no other cars were on the street when the accident occurred shortly before 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10.

The collision broke the car's side mirror off, so she gathered up the pieces to take to the Menlo Park police station later that morning.

That's where the story gets complicated. The location of the accident, on Ringwood Avenue between Bay and Middlefield roads, is technically within the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol, according to police, but borders territory patrolled by Menlo Park, Atherton and the county Sheriff's Office.

No one was immediately available to take her report at the Menlo Park police department when she arrived at the station around 11 a.m. The woman, who lives two hours from Menlo Park and was in town to babysit grandchildren, said she had an infant with her and couldn't wait at the station. "The Menlo Park police did say they'd have extra patrols on that road for a few days," she told the Almanac.

According to Menlo Park police spokeswoman Nicole Acker, the incident was referred to Atherton police. The victim said Atherton police called her on Thursday, only to tell her the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office had jurisdiction. So she called the sheriff, who told her to call the CHP. They said they wouldn't take her report over the phone. The victim said she would not be in the area again until April 16, but would follow up with the CHP then.

Ms. Acker said that an initial report can be taken by Menlo Park police and then referred to the department that has jurisdiction, in most cases. "Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry process because each agency has their set of procedures."

She recommended that if practical, the reporting party call when the accident occurs and ask for an officer to come to the scene. For a hit-and-run, if the reporting party has the vehicle, driver description and direction of travel, officers can circulate in the area, Ms. Acker said. Victims should also be checked for injuries by paramedics at the site of the accident

The victim still has the pieces of the car mirror that broke off. "The back of the casing (reads) '08.' It's gray. It wasn't a big car; it seemed more like a Honda or Camry size, not an SUV. I couldn't see who was driving; it happened too quickly."

"I would hate to have this happen to another runner," she said, adding that she normally brings her border collie along, but was grateful the dog stayed home that morning. "I'll never be running that route again, that's for sure."


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