Woman killed in El Camino accident identified, she worked with disabled students in Palo Alto

Mary Ellen Cabanski-Evers and her husband, Joseph Evers III, who preceded her in death. Photo from Facebook.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The woman who died after she was hit by a car on El Camino Real in Mountain View was a former lawyer-turned-student attendant in the Palo Alto school district, her sister said today (April 16).

Mary Ellen Cabanski-Evers, 59, was two blocks from her home at the Hidden Garden Apartments when she was hit while jaywalking across El Camino at Palo Alto Avenue — an intersection without a crosswalk — around 8:20 p.m. Saturday (April 13).

Her sister, the Marin County psychologist Laura Cabanski-Dunning, said that Cabanski-Evers was “extremely intelligent,” graduating first in her class from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Cabanski-Evers passed the Bar in Illinois, Washington D.C. and California, her sister said.

She worked for high-level law firms and clerked for a federal district court judge in Washington D.C., where she met her husband of 18 years, Joseph Evers III.

The two cherished the cats they adopted, his obituary said.

By 2013, she had left the legal field to work with disabled students, ultimately becoming a student attendant in the Palo Alto school district.
Evers fought a major illness for several years, during which time Cabanski-Evers cared for him and served as the sole breadwinner for the couple.

He died in 2016 at age 46.

Cabanski-Dunning said her sister took the death “very hard.”

“She was very lonely, but she continued to work with special ed kids,” Cabanski-Dunning said. “She was very sad, but she was a taxpaying employee working for the Palo Alto school district, a very devout member of a church.”

Multiple times in February, Cabanski-Evers expressed feelings of despair in public Facebook posts.

On Feb. 12, Cabanski-Evers wrote, “I feel like s**t. When will this end?”

Nine days later, she posted, “I wake up and sob pretty much every morning.”

Cabanski-Dunning said that her sister wasn’t always in such a despairing mood in recent months. Some of the other public posts in recent months on her Facebook were more cheerful or humorous.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner ruled the death an accident.

Cabanski-Evers died at the scene. The woman who hit her cooperated with investigators. Police don’t believe alcohol or drugs to have played a role in the crash.



  1. What a tragedy.

    Editor, please reconsider the use of the term “jaywalking” (i.e. illegal crossing), which unnecessarily imputes fault (unsubstantiated by the facts in the article) on the victim. Per California Vehicle Code, pedestrians crossing at intersections, even those without marked crosswalks, are considered to be in “unmarked crosswalks” and within their legal rights to cross the street. According to your own description, the victim was crossing at an intersection and thus within her rights. We don’t need to speculate further about fault or judgment.


  2. It’s not just that there’s no crosswalk where she was hit, there’s a raised earthen median there. If she were attempting to get across El Camino there, she would have to do some scrambling.

  3. We knew Mary, she was a friend and has dined with us. That is how we knew that her vision had deteriorated to the point that she had to abandon legal work and find something less visually taxing. She was not yet legally blind but the condition was serious and likely contributed to both the reason she was walking rather than driving, and to her lack of awareness of an approaching automobile. The article does not say what make of car it was, but if it was electric and silent that would help explain why things ended the way they did.

    • Dear Orin,
      Thank you for posting your comment. I confirm everything you mentioned about my sister Mary. Thank you for being her friend and for speaking up on her behalf.
      Sincerely, Laura Cabanski-Dunning

  4. I was also a close friend of Mary’s, through our association at church. I confirm what Orin Laney said. Mary had experienced several health challenges, including vision loss, for the past decade, forcing her to leave her prestigious legal work and embark on a new career path. It is dark by 8:20pm. Mary likely did not accurately perceive the car approaching, and the driver may have had difficulty seeing Mary in dim lighting at an intersection with no crosswalk. It is just a tragedy on all sides.

    Mary was profoundly saddened with her husband Joe’s death, yet she found tremendous joy in helping disabled children at her school. She really grew to love those children, and I was proud of her for finding new meaning in her life. I loved talking with her about her experiences in her prior law career. She was just a fascinating person to know, and I will miss her greatly.

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