Updated: Coroner releases identity of man killed in fatal crash

A California Highway Patrol officer surveys the scene of a north

The Santa Clara County Coroner identified the man killed in
Thursday’s crash near Buena Vista Avenue and No Name Uno Road as
Steven Kroff, 75, of San Martin.
The Santa Clara County Coroner identified the man killed in Thursday’s crash near Buena Vista Avenue and No Name Uno Road in north Gilroy as Steven Kroff, 75, of San Martin.

About 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Kroff was driving his light blue Sebring convertible southbound on No Name Uno, according to the California Highway Patrol. He stopped at the stop sign for drivers on No Name Uno at Buena Vista before pulling into the intersection, in front of a large, oncoming truck. The tan, four-door Chevrolet Silverado truck, which was being driven westbound on Buena Vista by a 40-year-old Gilroy woman, slammed into the driver’s side of the convertible, its bumper crushing the door into the car. The woman did not have a stop sign.

Kroff was pronounced dead of unspecified wounds at the scene, according to CHP. He was on his cell phone at the time of the collision, police discovered by checking the time of his last call.

The woman driving the truck was transported to the hospital with no visible injuries but complaints of pain, California Highway Patrol Officer Jaime Rios said. He was not sure if she was taken to Saint Louise Regional Hospital just a few minutes down the road or if she had been taken up to San Jose. Based on the evidence gathered so far, it did not appear that the driver of the truck would face any charges, Rios said, and police do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

Neither driver carried passengers in their cars.

About 1 p.m. Thursday, CHP officers were collecting evidence at the scene, rerouting traffic along No Name Uno and Buena Vista and waiting for the coroner to remove Kroff’s body, which lay under a yellow tarp in the grassy shoulder next to the Sebring. The bumper of the truck, which was so large its hood was about even with the roof of the convertible, had shattered half of the front window. Shards of glass glistened in the road and grass and long black skid marks showed where the woman first hit her brakes.

A neighbor who lives one house down from the corner said accidents occur every month at that intersection.

“It’s ridiculous,” Bill Johansen said. “We need a four-way stop. If you’re not from the area, you don’t know to look extra close.”

Johansen said it’s difficult for eastbound drivers on Buena Vista to see the intersection and that the line marking where drivers on No Name Uno should stop for the stop sign is too far back and should be moved up about six feet.

Last August, Morgan Hill resident Joan Patrick, 96, was killed when the ambulance in which she was being transported collided with a pick-up truck at the same intersection.

“It’s hard to say whether the intersection’s safe or not,” Rios said Thursday at the scene. “The road’s only as safe as the drivers are.”

Kroff’s death marks the second fatal traffic accident this year. On Feb. 4, a man was struck by a car as he tried to cross U.S. 101 on foot. Last year, the first traffic involved fatality didn’t occur until March, Rios said.

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