The collision took place on Riverside Boulevard at Swanston Drive on Thursday, Feb. 13 at about 10:50 a.m.
According to a Sacramento Police Department on-the-scene, post-accident video, the driver of a Mercedes-Benz was heading north on Riverside Boulevard and crashed into a Toyota Avalon, which was reported to have been turning onto Riverside Boulevard in a northwardly direction.
The Mercedes-Benz was determined to have been traveling at a rate of speed well above the 30 mph speed limit. And although it was not officially confirmed, some residents in the area spoke about the Mercedes-Benz as having been traveling at a speed of about 70 mph.
Linda Shaw, 66, who was the driver of the Toyota, was pronounced dead at a hospital later that day. A man in his 60s who was a passenger in the same vehicle was seriously injured.
Floyd Martin, 57, the driver of the Mercedes-Benz, was hospitalized in the University of California, Davis Medical Center, where he remained until March 6 when he was released into police custody.
According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, Martin was “booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.”
The Land Park News was at the scene several minutes after the accident occurred and it was observed that the police had closed Riverside Boulevard, between Swanston Drive and 4th Avenue, to automotive traffic.
It was also found that debris from the vehicles were spread a great distance and in many directions, and the Mercedes-Benz did not come to halt until it reached the vicinity of 4th Avenue.
Ninety-year-old Mary McLane, who resides on 4th Avenue, said that she feels fortunate not to have been walking on Riverside Boulevard at the time of the accident, considering the amount of debris that made its way to the sides of that street.
“I came down here for a walk (on Riverside Boulevard) about an hour (after the accident occurred),” said McLane, who is a 37-year resident of the neighborhood. “There wasn’t very much going on (at the accident scene), but there were a lot of neighbors who were talking about (the accident).”
Sherry Deangelis, who provides home care for McLane, said that the sidewalks along the boulevard are used quite frequently.
“There are a lot of people that walk and jog here,” Deangelis said. “And elderly people who walk around here, it’s their exercise. You can’t walk around this block without walking into at least one person, if not more.”
Adding to the concern of any vehicle being driven at an excessive speed along the boulevard in that area is the fact that Crocker/Riverside Elementary School is located at 2970 Riverside Blvd.
Last week, Daniel McCord, principal of the local elementary school, spoke out against those who speed along Riverside Boulevard.
“Obviously, anyone going over the speed limit concerns me, especially at that rate of speed, whatever it turns out to be,” McCord said. “It’s a huge concern and that was just born out by the results of the accident unfortunately. I can’t imagine there’s just one person who speeds up and down through there. At the same time, there’s a stop light right there at the school. We have flashing lights up to there, letting people know it’s a school zone. We have a crossing guard who has got her stop sign. We’ve made sure our parents and the students know: do not cross the street unless you’re in the crosswalk. So, I feel comfortable with those steps. At the same time, that doesn’t necessarily stop people from speeding.”
After being asked what message he would like to give to those who speed in front of the school, which is located in a 25 mph – when children are present – zone, McCord said, “I would say, be considerate of the children. We’re very much a family school. It’s not just students who are 5 to 12 years old that come to the school, but a lot of the younger siblings. Sometimes their parents may not have the hand right on them. I can’t imagine how somebody would feel if something happened that involved a student, let alone somebody, as it just happened with the woman, who was killed.”
McCord added that it is not uncommon for people to exceed the speed limits posted on Riverside Boulevard.
“I see how much of a challenge it is for me and many of our staff and parents for that matter to pull out of the school onto Riverside (Boulevard), not just because it’s congested, although that can certainly be the case (generally during morning and evening hours), but because there are people who go at a higher rate (of speed) than I would hope that they would go,” McCord said. “And just where I travel (on the street), I can see where people are traveling at a higher rate of speed. I just know the flow of traffic is certainly much higher than 30 (mph).”
Michael Neff, an 11-year resident of Land Park, estimates that the average speed of vehicles traveling along the boulevard in Land Park is 40 to 45 mph.
“Most people go 40 to 45 (mph on the boulevard),” Neff said. “I’m in the bike lane (on his bicycle) all the time and they’re moving by pretty quick. I would say it’s not that safe. Does it scare me? Yeah.”
In offering his own suggestion to slowing down the traffic flow on Riverside Boulevard, Neff said that he would not mind seeing a few more stop signs.
Troy Magness, who resides with his wife, Katherine, on 3rd Avenue in Land Park, also shared his views about decreasing the speed of traffic along the boulevard.
“I almost like the idea of maybe stepping up the presence of law enforcement, like black and whites, that sort of thing,” Troy said. “I’m not exactly an advocate of more government intrusion. Speed bumps? I think they’re pretty effective. I don’t think there’s any stretch along here that a roundabout would be appropriate, but that’s a good way to try to curb (excessive) speed, as well.”
Another local resident, Maya Walters, said that she has had discussions with others in the community about different ways that traffic could be slowed down on Riverside Boulevard.
“We need something to slow down (the traffic),” Walters said. “We were saying there should be police officers around giving tickets, but we haven’t seen any. But that’s a temporary fix. We’ve all been trying to talk about what we’re going to do to let people know (to slow down).”
Eric Baldwin, who resides on 2nd Avenue, spoke about an entirely different accident – a car versus wooden fence collision, which occurred on Riverside Boulevard, between Vallejo Way and 3rd Avenue, on Saturday, March 1.
“I was walking (on Riverside Boulevard) on early Saturday (morning),” Baldwin said. “Another guy actually teed me off to it. He was walking (in one direction on the boulevard) and I was walking (in the other direction). The front end of the car was kind of smashed in and the bumper was down and I would assume whoever had been driving realized what happened and left it there.”
Ericka Jones, who also lives in the area, remembers seeing the same vehicle.
“I saw a car up on the lawn, and the whole front of the car was busted up,” Jones said. “Everyone evacuated the car. I don’t know who was in it.”
Jones added that she feels safe when she regularly jogs along Riverside Boulevard, and is “indifferent” when it comes to the idea of taking any measures to slow down the flow of traffic.
Another local resident Hoshi Fujioka has a different opinion on that topic.
“I know the speed limit here (is 30 mph), but you would never know it,” Fujioka said. “I think they should be more strict about that. People go too fast here.”