Motorcycle Crash

Seaside police officers investigate the fatal motorcycle crash on Fremont Boulevard in Seaside in August 2017.

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. 

Keep Informed

  • - Opinionated insiders news
  • - Foodie news
  • - Events calendar
  • - E-edition and comics
Your email is never shared.

Become a Member Today


It takes a huge effort for Monterey County Weekly to stay independent and deliver the quality news, arts & entertainment you’ve come to depend on. We’re inviting our readers to join our new membership program, a new way to support independent, local media.

Learn more.

Recommended for you

(13) comments

Michelle Lopez-White

When setting up a GOFUNDME ACCOUNT. . . please use it for its intended purposes!
We had Jesse's funeral Friday and when it was time for the service!

I feel terrible that I have to do this, but we were left with no other choice. If any of my friends or family, or any of Jesses friends or family donated money with intentions to help pay for his services, please REPORT THIS CAMPAIGN AS FRAUD. It's a big long story, I didn't want to get into it bt this girl Jesse dated on and off started the fund and now is REFUSING to pay for his services. Jesse wasn't religious, in fact he was atheist of anything, we understand and support that that was his choice. So my family agreed to compromise, keeping Jesses wishes fully in mind and in the plan. We decided that his mom deserved to lay his soul to rest with the catholic traditional services. However to respect his wishes we had plans to cremate and then do the memorial service ideas his gf Alicia Renteria wanted. As of today she has refused to hand over the $4,288 for services. There would be money left over and we would help raise/come up with the rest of the funds needed for her memorial wishes for him. We loved her idea, so we don't know why she's doing this. Today at my cousins services, Alicia and her mother came and made a huge spectacle. They were terrible. They said they weren't handing over a penny unless we gave them all of my cousins ashes. ALSO, Alicia was in charge of the slide show of photos for his services, she refused to hand the DVD over because we "didn't deserve it"
Her mom hated Jesse Lizama Jesse Lizama, she threatened to kill him. The day he died, she didn't shed a tear, but today IN FRONT of our family, that woman, Olivia, told my aunt, she was responsible for her own son's death. HOW????

Jesse would have hated what happened today. It was so heartbreaking. He would have been so mad and disappointed. For somebody who claims to have known him so well, she should be ashamed of herself knowing how mad he would have been.

My family would have NEVER agreed to allow her to handle the gofundme if we had thought she would have changed heart and ignored the promise she made to take care of his family

Juan PardoLuzardi

I would love to know if the Pepsi truck driver who was behind her tell what happened .he is the one who knows what happened everything and the irresponsable way she drive and hit the 22 years old Hispanic kid ,he know the facts and he know what other way who is behind a person who has not charges after kill someone driving with a expired license and made a irresponsable and dangerous turn !!!!!! I would love to know who is behind this political activist !

Michelle Lopez-White

That is a very good question. I wonder if the police even got his statement on the accident! I hope she does get charged with his death! I know my family would love to see justice for my little cousin!

meli Menchaca

She is covered by the Bullies that run our County. THERE IS NO JUSTICE! THERE IS ONLY JUST-US! if we are not inner circle or descendant of
than we are FUCKED!

Phillip Crawford

How about updating this story? I understand Ms. Smith was released from custody late Thursday night and that, as of now, the District Attorney has not filed charges.

Czo Lish

Yea, lock yourself in your car. Don't cooperate with police. That sure makes you look innocent.

Michelle Lopez-White

I was very sad, heartbroken to hear about the loss of this young man. He was only 22, barely even lived his life! His wasn't just a young man I read about on Facebook, or heard about on the news. . . He was my cousin! I love and miss you. My you Rest In Peace

Widdle Diddle

Wasn't aware the BLM Movement was politcs, thought that was race issues. But OK.

meli Menchaca

When the NAACP refuses to help an Innocent Black Man accused of rape with evidence of innocence, you know all movements are being tainted by politics. Makes it easier for them to dismiss the real problems. Oh I am sorry we can't help you your not the right kind of Black? or Your not Black and related to someone in the inner circle. Should be ashamed of themselves!

Denese Sanders

This is a tragic accident, and I am dismayed to say the least that the weekly chose to publish such a sensationalized and inflammatory headline.

John Smith

Nothing about htis article isn't factual. It's neither sensationalized nor inflammatory.

If you can dispute the facts, then by all mean, do so.

Michelle Lopez-White

What exactly is false about this article? I am just curious, as it was my cousin laying dead there in the middle of the road!

meli Menchaca

It's unfortunate when you have to write a story with limited facts. Yes, I understand by all means you have your sources. Let me guess those same sources are police officers that I have on voicemails telling me they would check on my babies while being isolated from the world by your beloved Activist Miriam Smith. They might be the same people that show up to record the same officers that tell me after calling and reporting abuse of three children under the age of 10 and their disable mother, there are no reports filed. How convenient these officers are being reordered to show what? that they are unlike all the rest in the news shooting up the innocent? No, not at all what our police officers do is just control alt delete on any report we make. Mind you when finally Miriam Smith succeeded in driving my babies mother crazy to the point the fire department had to break down the door and take her to the psyche ward nothing was done, why you ask because not only was this Freaken Horrible woman released after the MURDER of another woman's child, she was set free to do all she did to our children. Yes of course I do understand no charges can be filed because like I said according to the seaside police department we never made the millions of reports we did. No Justice in this community and as long as this specifically appointed grand jury is in affect no one will ever know true justice. I have proof of my alligations and we have sent them to your office with like everyone else in this community a big F.U. Don't you worry, although we all are just doing our jobs, I am a mother and My Job is to continue to fight for my children and in the process teach them not everyone is corrupt and even though they have been let down by these people there are those who live with integrity and take their oaths seriously.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.