Albert Zenner of Santa Monica, aged 90, was struck by a car while crossing 4th Street at Idaho Avenue at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2; he was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood by Santa Monica Fire Department paramedics, where he later died of his injuries at 8:54 that evening.
Santa Monica police, who responded to the scene, issued a release the next day stating that “preliminary investigation revealed the vehicle (2007 BMW) was being driven by a 37-year-old female who was traveling southbound on 4th Street approaching Idaho Avenue. [Mr. Zenner] was on Idaho Avenue crossing 4th Street at an unmarked crosswalk” when he was hit. The driver “was not injured and has been cooperating with the Traffic Accident Investigators.”
A local resident reported that the driver said at the scene that she had been on the phone and looking for an apartment. As late as Tuesday afternoon, May 8, SMPD Lt. Alex Padilla said that “the investigation is still in the preliminary stages,” and that police are looking into whether a placard hanging from the car’s rear view mirror may have impeded the driver’s vision and whether Zenner looked before stepping off the curb.
Requests have been made over the years for a four-way stop sign at the intersection, like the one a block south on 4th Street at Washington Avenue. (There is a stop sign on Idaho at Fourth, but not on Fourth at Idaho.) Lucy Dyke, Transportation Planning Manager for the City, said that her files have three responses to such requests dated April 1996, May 2001 and June 2002, but added, “None of the engineers determined, based on conditions at the intersection, that a four-way stop would make the intersection safer.”
Today, there is a yellow ribbon tied around the palm tree on the corner of 4th and Idaho, and a message commemorating “the Wonderful Albert Zenner” as “Devoted Husband to Nora Zenner for over 68 years, Beloved Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Great Great Grandfather, Amazing Artist Painter, Impeccable Musician, Brilliant Inventor,…”
Perhaps ironically, the last time Mr. Zenner’s name appeared in the Mirror it was because he had been issued a traffic citation for driving his three-wheeled, battery-powered Trident down the middle of the pedestrians-only Third Street Promenade in July 2004: “Zenner, a self-described artist and inventor, told the officer that the vehicle was his wheelchair…. The officer issued a citation to Zenner, after which he and another officer escorted Zenner to Santa Monica Boulevard, where they advised him to ‘make a right turn and keep going.’ ”