Autopsy Reveals Horrific Injuries Caused by San Jose Council Candidate’s Fatal Car Crash

Four months after a San Jose council candidate fatally struck a man with her SUV, the Santa Clara County coroner has released an autopsy report detailing the extent of the trauma that killed 66-year-old Timothy Starkey.

According to the five-page document, the Santa Cruz resident died on Dec. 16 from multiple injuries after Jenny Higgins Bradanini’s car plowed into him on the side of the road in a 25 mph zone near Blossom Hill Elementary School in Los Gatos.

Source: Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner

It’s unclear how fast she was driving because the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has yet to disclose any details about the collision, for which no arrest has been made and no charges filed.

But the autopsy report indicates that the force was strong enough to almost sever Starkey’s legs. Authorities have said he died upon impact.

Assistant Medical Examiner Medhi Koolaee, the forensic pathologist who signed the report on Feb. 13, deemed the manner of death an accident.

San Jose Inside was unable to reach the Starkey family by press time. And Higgins Bradanini did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

23 Comments

  1. So, is she still out there on the roads? Look, I know it would be a real inconvenience for her to have to find alternative means of transportation and maybe I’m being really petty about this, but I don’t think she should still be driving!

  2. I am not so quick to judge because I feel that this could happen to any of us – all it takes is a second or two of being distracted… This is tragic for all involved.

    • Susan, I agree and disagree. Everyone makes mistakes, so of course it’s inevitable that people are going to make mistakes when they drive. I know I have made mistakes behind the wheel in the past that have endangered others. So from that perspective, I think we all need to be ready to forgive Ms. Bradanini in our hearts, to recognize that none of us are perfect and it’s not impossible that, through some twist of life that we would never think could happen to us, we could end up in a similar position to the one she occupies.

      On the other hand, we have to consider just how much of a mistake she made. Yes, none of us are blameless, but some of us are more to blame than others. It’s not impossible that I make a mistake while driving someday and take someone else’s life, but I make such an effort to be a cautious driver that I find that outcome very unlikely. Maybe what Ms. Bradanini did could have happened in two or three seconds, but it would have had to have been such a drastic shift for her to have crossed that much road in that much time. We don’t have the facts of the case yet, but as far as I can tell she made some sort of choice, maybe to text someone, maybe to turn around in her seat and grab something. It’s hard to forgive someone for the terrible consequence of their actions when you don’t know what those actions were. Obviously the public’s forgiveness is a lot less important than that of the Starkey family themselves, but I don’t think the former will be possible until the details on what happened emerge.

  3. The police have had enough time to close out their investigation. It should have been simple enough to determine fault and if warranted, to file a criminal complaint. I guessed Bradanini would not be a favorite of the law enforcement community. I thought it was delayed to create FUD. But she lost so there’s no longer any reason to withhold the results.

    • > I guessed Bradanini would not be a favorite of the law enforcement community.

      Bradanini was/is a favorite of the South Bay Labor Council.

      They are not shy about making their wishes known to local government authorities and protecting the image and reputations of themselves and their favorites.

      For that reason, any lucid adult should question the integrity and honesty of any related investigations and the decisions to withhold information.

      No police report after four months?

      > the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has yet to disclose any details about the collision, for which no arrest has been made and no charges filed.

      it is entirely rational for lucid adults to suspect funny business . . . or worse.

  4. Ok Susan,

    So you practically cut a person who is unloading a car well off the driving lane and then I’m supposed to think by your rational that Jennifer doesn’t lose her driving privilege b/c anyone of us could become distracted? True maybe, but then again I’ve never killed or injured anyone with a car and I’d expect to pay consequences if I do. I don’t think that this is just a matter for an insurance company to pay a settlement and then life goes on as before.

  5. Once again, there is evidence to support the concept that there are two different justice systems in this country.

  6. Are the Starky family on board with this article? (Said couldn’t be reached) I understand it might be public info but seems disrespectful to the deceased and his family in the name of politics. just my opinion.

  7. Disturbing as the details are to read, I found a particular eeriness about them as I recall a local woman’s legs were actually severed in almost that exact spot approximately 10 years ago. I can’t remember the details,, but it definitely happened. She was dropping her kids off near the parking lot (before the remodel) and someone hit and pinned her, resulting in the loss of both legs. Strange coincidence.

    • Lisa – Your memory is correct. I lived on Blossom Hill 13 years ago when that other accident happened. It was similar, but different in three key details: 1) the victim was maimed, but she lived, 2) the culprit fled the scene and was tracked down later further down the road, and 3) the culprit was actually arrested that day. That’s why I find it hard to square that Ms. Bradanini has not faced any consequences

  8. My condolences to the family. The autopsy report confirms that Mr. Starky suffered serious physical damage. The fatal injury occurred in December 2019. Hopefully, the local police department will release a report soon so that the public will know the facts that led to Mr. Starky’s death.

  9. Thanks Jennifer for the update, gruesome as it is. One question: your article says the autopsy was finished on Feb 13. Is it normal for police to sit on a report like this for 2 months to make it public?

    • Excellent question, and worthy of being asked by the media, especially since a very relevant election was being held on March 3. Was there some reason, or otherwise some request to prevent releasing this before the election?

  10. I am a Los Gatos attorney and long-time family friend of the Starkeys. Shortly after the tragic incident in which Tim Starkey was killed I identified myself to SanJoseInside (SJI) as the spokesperson who would respond on the family’s behalf in connection with news stories concerning the incident and the driver of the vehicle, Jenny Badinini. Since then I have had occasional requests for updates on the status of the police investigation, and I have responded with what I know. On Tuesday of this week, I received an email from SJI asking for current status and advising of the intention to publish graphic details of Tim Starkey’s injuries disclosed in the coroner’s report. On Tuesday evening, I responded to the SJI reporter by email, a portion of which was the following:

    “I had a conversation with Kathleen [Starkey] yesterday in which she recounted receiving a card from a woman who actually witnessed the incident. She very gently assured Kathleen that Tim did not suffer and that everyone present was extremely respectful of his body. These comments were very reassuring to her, but at the same time brought on a tremendous surge of emotion and sadness, even during our phone call. Like anyone in this situation, she is devastated that she was not with him when he died, never had a chance to say goodbye, and has a very difficult time living with the visuals of what happened to him and his last moments all alone. I don’t know what report you received or how it came into your hands, but I can assure you that publishing the details you mention will be devastating to Kathleen and the kids. I hope you will listen to your humanitarian better angels and omit any graphic description of the accident result, which so far, I know, has not otherwise been discussed in the view of the family. I would personally be very grateful.”

    On Wednesday, the reported acknowledged my email and stated that “[t]he last thing I want to do is upset the family any further as I know this is a very difficult time for them”, and stating that an effort would be made to leave graphic details out of the story”. I responded that I would be in touch with additional comments from the family regarding their status as they waited for the investigation to be completed.

    Yesterday, after I spoke with Kathleen Starkey and prepared to forward her comments to the reporter, I learned that the story had already been published, with graphic details of the mutilation of my friend’s body, and stating “San Jose Inside was unable to reach the Starkey family by press time”, an absolute lie. I immediately submitted a comment to the story, summarizing what had preceded its publication, and the comment has not been published. This is horrific, disgusting and inexcusable journalism on so many levels. There is nothing newsworthy in the story except the sensational graphic disclosure of details of the injuries that are upsetting even to the casual reader, let alone to the family of the victim. The reporter was moved by me comments not to write the story but was overridden by superiors. I sincerely hope, in some fashion and through some outlet, these comments are given as much visibility as the trashy and devastating story.
    Tim Lundell

    • Tim,

      For whatever it’s worth I didn’t read the report on the injuries. I didn’t see why I needed to know this information or what it would really change in my views–which are mainly as a matter of public safety that Jennifer Bradanini should be allowed to drive.

    • Mr. Rosen hasa history of manipulating the local media. Look forward to him refusing to prosecute Ms. Bradanini – get ready for some interesting police report review and for what prosecutorial misconduct means to victims in Santa Clara County.

    • Tim, appreciate your concern for keeping this paper honest, but personally, my greatest hope is simply that the Starkey family will see justice served. I have been appalled at the local authorities’ complicity in protecting Jenny Bradanini who should clearly be prosecuted for negligent homicide or similar. I’m glad to know that the Starkleys have counsel and wish you the best of luck in pressing this case forward. Publicity is your friend. Looks like some folks are refusing to do their jobs for political reasons and hoping this will fly under the radar. Let’s not let it happen!!

  11. I find it interesting that the reporter of this article, Jenn Wadsworth, claims she reached out to Jenny Bradanini for comment but got no reply. Perhaps Jenn should have contacted Jenny Bradanuni via Facebook since they are listed ad Friends om Facebook. Unbiased reporting on Jenn’s part? Sounds fishy to me.

  12. > Assistant Medical Examiner Medhi Koolaee, the forensic pathologist who signed the report on Feb. 13, deemed the manner of death an accident.

    What choices of “manner of death” could the Medical Examiner consider?

    Probably “accident” or “not an accident” or “natural causes” or “pre-existing condition”.

    “Accident” or “not an accident” were probably the only reasonable options, and “not an accident” would put the Medical Examiner in the role of assessing motives, which is not his business.

    It sounds like the Los Gatos – Monte Sereno Police Department has to make a determination of accountability. Almost five months seems to me to be a reasonable and sufficient amount of time to make that determination.

    • My understanding is that any police determination as to fault in an accident is not admissible evidence if there any court proceedings regarding it. A cop told me that. The facts of the case will be argued about in court but a jury will make a determination as to fault. I assume this case will end up in court.

  13. Here too are facts not in any report that are unlikely to be coming from the DA’s office any time soon:

    #1 Bradanini was not only a political candidate who was allowed to continue a political campaign supported by the local DA and area judges, she had also been the leader of the San Jose Women’s March and a close ally of Michele Dauber during the recall of Judge Persky, which bought her protection from our illustrious DA, Jeff Rosen.

    2. Shortly before the accident, Bradanini was involved in a divorce case before family court judge James Towery. After a careful review of the divorce file there was certainly some protections afforded to Ms. Bradanini that were not afforded to other spouses appearing before Judge Towery over the course of his 10 year career on the county’s family court bench.

    3. The Los Gatos police Chief and the investigating officers have not only refused to comment on this case, there is an indication that they may be working with the DA to provide special protections for Ms. Bradanini that are not afforded to others in the Santa Clara County community.

    4 Neighbors of the area had been complaining about the street to the Town of Los Gatos for decades. Nothing was done to make that street safer and the town’s elected officials knew it. Those same elected officials are now feverishly working to give themselves a pay increase adding $435K to the public payroll and $500K more to the Los Gatos police department payroll, which has outraged voters and residents in the Los Gatos community who are lighting up social media including comments on the Nextdoor App, which town officials are reportedly trying to take down. These neighbors are complaining about Town officials including Barbara Spector , a former law partner of Judge James Towery. The outrage persists as Los Gatos residents face shuttered businesses, closed schools, canceled community events, and unprecedented business losses and unemployment.

    5. DA insiders claim Jeff Rosen will not prosecute Bradanini for political reasons. The family was not notified of this report before it appeared in this article. DA insiders also report the family has been completely ignored by the county’s victim services department, which is now only operating 20% of their staff ( 100% are being paid) , as Rosen continues to get local supervisors to add high level positions to this department as little is being done for victims and their families. Mr. Starkey’s family has not been provided key information victims are entitled to under Marsy’s Law, including the police reports that would be the basis of a wrongful death claim they might have against Ms. Bradanini. A pattern Mr. Rosen appears to engage in regularly for the benefit of the legal community and local politicians ( Ann Ravel ) who continue to keep Mr. Rosen in office.

    6. In 2002 Judge Danser was indicted for rigging traffic court cases with Los Gatos police officers for the benefit of Los Gatos Little League members and other buddies of the LGPD . This conduct has continued to evolve and corrupt our local family courts in the years that followed Danser’s indictment. As recently as 2018 one such case involving Jason Lugaresi, before Judge James Towery in the local family court, silently slipped onto Jeff Rosen’s dismissal list, when no media was watching and after Mr. Rosen was safely re-elected. Mr. Lugaresi was charged with 16 felony sex crimes on a former spouse that allegedly took place in a Los Gatos garage not far from the Netflix headquarters back in 2012. Ms. Bradanini and Ms. Dauber appeared too consumed with their new found pubic positions to worry about that case as they had worried abut Brock Turner and Judge Persky. Judge Danser’s widow continues to work with Barbara Spector in scandalous private judging cases at JAMS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbKVXm3chfE

    As a Los Gatos based publisher and investigative reporter, I have been shocked a the level of public corruption that has seeped into our sleepily little community. Most folks think public corruption will not substantially impact their lives. Sadly, Tim Starkey may be one person who paid the ultimate price for our being complicit when it comes to the Los Gatos Police and a duly elected DA. Insiders also report is it unlikely Ms. Bradanini will be prosecuted for her role in taking this man’s life. The public will be denied oversight too. Maybe then people might realize why the LGPD’s hiring of Jonathan Silva , an officer who beat a man on the SJSU campus nearly to death, was a sign of the culture that came to Los Gatos long before Jennifer Higgins Bradanini took that fateful drive down Blossom Hill Road. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJhEhw6m1hY&t=689s

Leave a Reply