UPDATE: Miriam Smith was released from jail on Thursday morning after prosecutors began reviewing the facts of the case. Deputy District Attorney Berkley Brannon says investigators are awaiting a coroner's report on the motorcyclist before they will consider whether to file charges of vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor.
Miriam Smith, a 59-year-old Seaside woman active in local politics, has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and obstructing police after she allegedly caused a crash that killed a motorcyclist in Seaside on Tuesday.
According to Seaside Police Sgt. Jon Law, just before 11:30am on Tuesday, Aug. 29, officers arrived to the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Charles Avenue where a 22-year-old man was lying in the street unconscious and not breathing after crashing his black Kawasaki motorcycle into a gray minivan that allegedly cut him off.
Officers performed CPR and the man began breathing again, but remained unconscious. Medics arrived and the man was taken to a local hospital where he died of his injuries, according to Monterey County Sheriff’s spokesperson Cmdr. John Thornburg. The man's name is being withheld until next of kin are notified.
The man was riding south on Fremont Boulevard toward Monterey when police say Smith's car veered into his lane and cut him off. The man was thrown from his bike and hit the side of the car.
According to Seaside Police Cmdr. Nick Borges, Smith was driving on an expired license. She was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and obstructing or delaying police.
The second charge stems from events after officers arrived to investigate the crash; Smith originally got out of her car, but after she heard officers calling for a tow truck, she locked herself in the car and refused to get out, Borges says.
Smith has been a visible player in recent years in Seaside activism and politics.
She and her daughter Gertrude Smith co-founded a chapter of Black Lives Matter in 2015, and she helped manage Gertrude's campaign for Seaside mayor in 2016.
This is the third traffic fatality locally in as many days. On Sunday night, a motorcyclist on Josselyn Canyon Road off Highway 68 was speeding and hit a concrete wall, and was thrown from his bike and died in the solo crash, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol.
In a three-car accident Monday morning on San Juan Road in Aromas, one person was killed and an unknown number of people were injured. In that incident, two vehicles collided head-on, followed by a rear-end crash, according to CHP.