SJ Council Candidate Involved in Car Crash That Killed Pedestrian

San Jose City Council candidate Jenny Higgins Bradanini on Monday struck and killed a pedestrian with her car on Blossom Hill Road.

Higgins Bradanini, who’s running for Councilman Johnny Khamis’ open District 10 seat, announced the incident in an email to her supporters late Wednesday, saying she would take some time off to “recover from this accident and grieve the loss of life.”

According to campaign consultant Eric Stroker, Higgins Bradanini had left a meeting at San Jose City Hall to head to a doctor’s appointment in Los Gatos when, at around 11:40am, she hit a 66-year-old man on the 900 block of Blossom Hill Road.

The Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department has yet to return calls for comment. But in a press release, the agency said the victim of the impact was pronounced dead at the scene. The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office identified the man as Timothy Starkey, a Santa Cruz resident.

Higgins Bradanini—who was driving alone at the time of the crash and was not arrested after the incident—expressed sympathies for the man’s surviving loved ones.

“I am heartbroken and deeply saddened by this tragic death,” she wrote in an email. “My heart goes out to the man’s family and loved ones as they are suffering this tragic loss. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow, and I ask for your support in sending your thoughts and condolences to the devastated family.”

It’s unclear how the incident will affect her bid for public office. Higgins Bradanini, the co-founder and president of the Bay Area Women’s March, is running in the spring primary against former Brigade CEO Matt Mahan and local businesswoman Helen Wang.

This article has been updated.


  1. More facts are needed in this case.
    Ms. Bradanini could be consumed with “time consuming” litigation.
    David S. Wall

  2. I have a feeling the comments are going to be pretty harsh here, so I wanted to preempt them by pointing out just how much we don’t know about what happened, here — we don’t know if the pedestrian was jaywalking or crossing properly, if he ran out in front of the car or if Ms. Bradanini hit him because she was using her cell phone.

    We SHOULD judge her for this, obviously she made some choices that led to a tragic outcome, and that brings her judgement into question as a candidate. But we shouldn’t judge her until we know more of what happened.

    My first reaction is that it’s not a great sign that she and her campaign manager didn’t share any exonerating details, but that could be out of respect for the victim’s family or because this incident may be the subject of potential litigation.

    I have not been a fan of Ms. Bradanini since she came onto the scene tying herself to the hip with Boss Chavez, but I really do feel a lot of human empathy for her grappling with what must be a horrible feeling. Hitting and killing while driving honestly may be my greatest fear, and I have thought about how hard it would be to move forward after an event like that. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to judge her if she was at fault — but we can hold someone to account and recognize their humanity at the same time. Obviously she is not the true victim of this situation, and I have even greater sympathy for the family of the deceased.

    My hope is that she exits the race. Her campaign might be salvageable, because I’m think Mahan has too much integrity to wave this incident in front of the voters, but this is the kind of asterisk that makes a future as a public figure pretty undesirable.

    • > I wanted to preempt them by pointing out just how much we don’t know about what happened, here

      Pretty much on the mark.

      This is an excellent test case to see if ALL responsible parties do the responsible thing and that the result is a FULL, UNAMBIGUOUS, CLEAR, OPEN accounting of what happened, and that accountability and blame are placed appropriately where they belong.

  3. This homicide is a subject of knowledgeable discussion on NextDoor. The man who was killed was taking stuff out of the back of his parked car, preparatory to hanging Christmas lights at a relative’s house.

    The least that would have happened was that the candidate would have rear-ended a parked car.

    The inference that she was not looking where her vehicle was going is inescapable.

    The maximum penalty for vehicular manslaughter is either one year in county jail or six years in state prison.

    I think she’s going to have to put her political dreams on hold.

    • It was a very sunny afternoon across from Blossom Hill School and Blossom Hill Park where many children walk home and ride bikes. Also many moms walking babies in strollers and people walking their dogs. It was lucky that more people weren’t hurt. The driving was very reckless.

      • The NBC Bay Area site has a useful aerial view of the accident scene. The deceased had parked his van in front of a friend’s house, in the middle of the day on Blossom Hill Road, across from a park and a school. (A friend, not a relative as I had first thought.) His van faced in the direction towards Los Gatos Boulevard.

        A motorist driving a large SUV struck the deceased as the deceased was taking items out of the back of his vehicle — a rear end collision. In the photo, the deceased’s van appears to have been moved by the force of the impact.

  4. How did she hit him in the bike lane? At night on Blossom hill Rd. there should be bumbs on the street, so people won’t drive as fast as it happened. There is a school and a park it was in the day If kids were out it could of been one of them. I’m so sad about that man.

  5. This was a typical case of reckless driving. She was certainly no paying attention. The victim was taking things out of his trunk. His car was parked at Blossom Hill street, just a few houses down the block from where I live. My next door neighbor run to the scene because the noise was so loud. She hit him at least at 35 mph crushing his body against his parked car. The impact was so strong that his legs were amputated. It is pathetic that this woman has the courage to play dumb. She is so cynical. She should be behind bars, not trying to get elected. Whatever she was doing (texting, or whatever), one thing is certain: she was not looking at where she was going. I’m so sick and tired of all the people racing through Blossom Hill Road, not stopping for people who are crossing at Blossom Hill and Hillbrook, even though there is a blinking light at the crosswalk. Why is this woman not in custody?

    • Rosie, my house is right by the crosswalk. For everything you said was 100% the truth. I think everybody that is here on Blossom hill Rd. to write a petition regarding speed bumps placed on that street not only the safety of the community but further more innocent bystanders like the hard working gentleman working along that area to avoid a future unnecessary tragedy from taking place like this again.

  6. If Chi Expats account is true I’d guess that Bradanini was checking a text message and drifted on the road. A NJ woman, Alexandra Manasonet, was texting to her sister-in-law her dinner plans and struck and killed a pedestrian while doing so. She was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for her distracted driving.

  7. Unbelievable that she had the gall to say she was merely “involved in an accident”. Like it just occurred, and she just happened to be involved in it, caught up like an innocent victim in something that just happened on the road.

    No, she CAUSED an accident, and she is guilty of manslaughter and felony reckless driving at the VERY LEAST.

    If you hit a parked car, you CAUSED the accident. Who the heck else would cause it? You’re driving, you hit something that isn’t even moving, its obviously your fault, and your fault alone!

    This distracted-driving KILLER should never be allowed anywhere near a public office or any reins of power anywhere. She can’t even drive down the street without killing an innocent pedestrian who isn’t even in a traffic lane.

  8. For those interested, here is the GoFundMe page for Tim Starkey’s family –
    “The Starkey Family tragically lost their husband, father, uncle, and friend, Tim, in an accident on Monday, December 16 in Los Gatos, CA. Tim Starkey brought so much joy to the lives around him and had a heart of gold. Tim shared his sense of humor with everyone he encountered and was happiest cooking a meal during the holidays or a Sunday night dinner with a curated soundtrack.
    The Starkey family is grieving with family and friends while also working through the repercussions of the accident and loss of Tim. The family has had a tremendous amount of love and support offered to them and has a long and difficult journey ahead.”

  9. Patrick, it would be a nice gesture if Bradanini’s insurance company would make a large advance into the Gofund Me today. Let’s also hope that this menace on the road has had her car keys taken away. I would like to not see her walk away from this–she needs some real time to think about what her recklessness has done.

  10. I will wait for the final version of the investigation before placing fault.
    There could have been a mechanical failure for all we know.
    RIP to the friends and family of the deceased.

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