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Drunk driver kills Sikh couple in California

Last updated on: October 26, 2013 12:28 IST

A Sikh couple were struck and killed by a car driven by a suspected drunk driver on Thursday night in Menlo Park, California.

The suspect Marjorie Reitzell, a 54-year-old African American female, who is a resident of Redwood City, hit Kamal Singh, 45, and his wife Balbir Kaur, 50 from behind before her vehicle crashed into a tree. 

The couple is survived by their three teenage children.

According to the preliminary investigation by the San Menlo police, the two victims were walking their dog eastbound on Chilco Street, west of Constitution Avenue, in the bike lane.

The suspect vehicle was also driving east on Chilco Street and struck the two pedestrians from behind, killing them. The suspect vehicle then continued east, striking and driving over the center medium, and into the westbound lane of Chilco Street.

The car then struck another vehicle that was traveling west on Chilco, causing minor damage and no injuries to the four occupants of that vehicle. The car then continued east in the westbound lane of Chilco Street, until it struck a tree and came to a halt.

Investigation revealed that Reitzell was under the influence of alcohol and she was subsequently arrested and has been charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and two counts of felony driving under the influence of alcohol.

The San Mateo County Peninsula Humane Society who responded to the scene took possession of the injured dog for brain injury treatment. At this time the status of the dog is unknown.

Satnam Singh Chahal, executive director, North American Punjabi Association expressing grief and condolence on the death of two community members said State Department of Motor Vehicle records shows that Reitzell was convicted of drunken driving in November 2012.

She was on probation and her driver's license was valid, the DMV said. Chahal added that Singh worked as a senior materials specialist at AngioScore Inc, a medical device company in Fremont, and Kaur worked at a Walgreens,drug retailing chain in the United States.

Image for representational purpose only.

Ritu Jha in California