California School Board Trustee Passes Away at 48 After Tragic Parking Lot Accident

Catherine Kuo

Authorities in Dublin, California say the death of school board member Catherine Kuo, who was involved in a vehicle-pedestrian collision on Wednesday, was not intentional. 

Kuo, 48, was struck by a vehicle while volunteering at a food distribution event at Fallon Middle School, according to a statement made by Daniel R. Moirao of the Dublin Unified School District (DUSD). The accident left Kuo pinned between two cars, KRON4 reported.

Kuo was handing out boxes to assist the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Farmers to Families Food Box Program.” The program was initiated during the pandemic, and its volunteers distribute boxes containing groceries, fruits and vegetables to families in need.

After the car crash, witnesses immediately called Falck Paramedics and the Alameda County Fire Department, who gave Kuo first aid treatment. They later transferred her to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where she succumbed to her injuries.

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Investigators are still looking into the case, but authorities claim that alcohol and drugs are not likely factors in this incident.

According to Dublin Police Services Captain Nate Schmidt, authorities returned to the scene on Thursday, but it remains unclear why Kuo was hit by a car as she was loading boxes into another vehicle, Pleasanton Weekly reported.

“We have no reason to believe this was intentional in any way… Just a horrible accident,” Schmidt said. “The driver has cooperated fully, and they are devastated as well.”

The driver did not flee the scene and was cooperative during the investigation, according to Schmidt. However, the police have yet to release the driver’s identity, stating that they can only do so after they have filed criminal charges.

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“We are devastated by the tragic loss of our colleague and dear friend, Catherine,” four of Kuo’s colleagues from the DUSD Board of Trustees said in a joint statement. “We will miss her, her kind spirit, her love of family and community, and her passion to understand and connect with others. She worked tirelessly to make a difference in our schools and our community.”

“She was a wonderful role model of leadership for our Asian American and Pacific Islander students,” her colleagues wrote. “Her dedication to the mission of DUSD was obvious to all who knew her, and as a board, we are better for having served with her. We will miss you Catherine. We offer our deepest condolences to the Kuo family. Thank you for sharing Catherine with us.”

Kuo, a married mother of two, was a Dublin resident for the past 21 years. She was appointed as trustee of the Dublin School Board in December 2019 after winning the election for the position in November 2019. She also re-elected and secured another four-year term.

“The tragic passing of Dublin Unified School Board Trustee Catherine Kuo is a devastating loss for a school community that has known too many in recent months,” Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe and ACOE Board President Aisha Knowles said in a joint statement. “Trustee Kuo was a caring, dedicated public servant who led with kindness and a heart for students and families. Her compassion and commitment will be profoundly missed.”

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Family friend Kerrie Maddock Chabot has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Kuo’s husband and two children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Catherine was a great example of grace, kindness, and intelligence,” Chabot wrote. “She was grounded in her faith. As noted in the DUSD communications, there is a gaping hole in our hearts with the loss of Catherine. Our schools, students, staff, and families are forever indebted to her as she sought to build bridges and worked hard to find common ground.” 

Feature Image via GoFundMe

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