Tourist Killed on Vacation in Santa Monica Identified

Vacation ends in tragedy for Australian family when a father is killed in a downtown crosswalk. He was visiting Santa Monica with his wife and 8-year-old daughter.

This story was originally published at 5:52 p.m. Aug. 22, 2012. See note below. 

A 50-year-old Australian man visiting Santa Monica with his wife and young daughter has died in a local trauma center after being struck earlier this week by an alleged drunken driver, authorities reported.

The man was identified Friday as Gary Robert Mara, according to Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Mara was hit Monday night while crossing Colorado Avenue against a solid red "don't walk" sign. He was with his family, including his 8-year-old daughter, who was also hit in by the driver and suffered minor injuries, said Santa Monica Police Department spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis.

Police arrested the driver, Cara Cameron, 26, of Westchester, on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and drunken driving. She was booked on $100,000 bail.

The crash was reported at 8:20 p.m. in the 300 block of Colorado Avenue. Cameron was driving eastbound on Colorado from Second Street on a green light, when the family entered the crosswalk against a solid "don't walk sign," Lewis said.

Cameron "was unable to avoid the pedestrians and struck two of the family members," he said.

She is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 21 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Mara succumbed to his injuries early Wednesday morning, police said.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 with the location of the crash. Republished 10:09 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 with the name of the victim.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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Brian Isobe August 27, 2012 at 01:09 AM
People are getting to caught up in where it happen. The focus here is there's a wife and a child without there spouse and father. My heart goes out to the surviving family members, I'll be sure to keep them in my personal prayers.
Melody C. August 27, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I agree with Brenda! There is too much traffic, yet the City Council continues to approve large construction projects. More construction means more congestion, and more people trying to go around such construction (frustrated or aggravated) means danger to pedestrians! When will City Council members (and voters for those members) realize that our quaint little city has reached its capacity for traffic and construction?
Glenn E Grab August 27, 2012 at 03:37 PM
dan, taking a few courses in criminal justice at a JC doesn't make one educated, nor does it require much intelligence...what makes me laugh is when cops are interviewed and they attempt to use big words to describe situations and almost invariably screw the pronunciation and the meaning up...the funny part is that the cops have no idea how stupid they look...
Glenn E Grab August 27, 2012 at 03:45 PM
dear Aussie, despite the drunkeness of the driver, had this man simply not walked against the red signal, illegally putting himself and his daughter in harm's way, this never would have happened....I agree, the driver should be severely punished, I don't think she'll get life, she's more likely to be charged with some degree of manslaughter....remember, had she not been drunk, there probably would have been no charges....
Glenn E Grab August 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
maybe because blood tests are more reliable than breathilizers, they need to go to a lab to be analyzed, it takes a few days....
CJLA August 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
BAC means blood alhocol content. The legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is 0.08%. I believe that Australia's limit is 0.05%...less tolerant than here in the U.S.
Ron Gee August 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM
You don't have to look both ways to see the red Don't Walk sign, it's straight ahead in front of you. As unfortunate as this tragedy is, it probably could have been avoided if the parents just obeyed the traffic signal. Why are you going to risk the safety of your 8-year-old by trying to make it across the street against a red light? And the increasingly prevalent attitude among Santa Monica residents seem to be that traffic signals don't apply to pedestrians, they can step off the curb no matter how soon the light is going to change, whether or not the signals say Walk or Don't Walk. I was involved in an accident where I hit a pedestrian who was trying to beat the light. It was flashing Don't Walk for him when he entered the intersection, and he was trying to run across six lanes before the light turned red. Unfortunately for the two of us, he ran right in front of me just as the light turned green for me and I began accelerating. I hadn't seen him crossing because it was night time and there was another car next to me, blocking him from my view. Fortunately, all he sustained was a concussion and broken hip. Traffic signals (including Walk/Don't Walk) are there for a reason, people.
Dan Charney August 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
For all above- first- I doubt there will be a trial at all- probably a plea bargain- the laws here are very clear about pedestrians -even if they are crossing against a light etc- as a driver you are to use all possible means to avoid hitting them which puts the onus on the driver in this case because of her intoxication and repeatedly so- as for the man crossing the street- I do think those who mentioned being in a country where the traffic is on the other side is the point- so easy to look the wrong way- my god- a woman lost her husband and a child lost her father- a man lost his life- had the driver not been drunk - she may very well have been able to avoid hitting them- drop the blame the victim game here- drunk drivers are a nightmare and should go to jail for a long time
rich doherty August 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
The Aussie is to blame. Traffic laws are there to protect him. International sign language ie: the red hand is even understood by idiots. If he wants to ignore that and gamble with his life he gets what he deserves. His was not even thoughtful enough to protect daughter, what a jerk.
Lance Dacus August 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I notice as I got closer to the end of the comments most people were back pedaling after the comments from the gentleman from Australia. Two facts here, one major one would have kept a person alive. The woman was in the wrong for driving while drunk but the pedestrians crossed AGAINST a red do not walk sign. I'm not trying to be rude but am merely pointing out the two main factors and the one that most contributed to this avoidable loss of life. I hate to read about any accidents but most can be attributed to simple human error.
Dan Charney August 27, 2012 at 07:22 PM
agree he should not have crossed like he did or jeopardized his family that way - but to 'blame' him and say 'he got what he deserved'? you need help - I hope you get some- no question if the driver had not been drunk she would have probably been able to avoid him- drunk driving as well as texting and cell phone use trumps crossing against a light any day in my book- get a hold of yourself Rich Doherty- you are way too freaking angry
Melody C. August 27, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I empathize with this poor family. My family was injured in an accident in Santa Monica involving a woman under the influence. I was placing one of my twins in his carseat at the time while parked in front of my home on Pearl St. I hope that this family gets a real good attorney. In our case the woman not only had a .10, but she had marijuana, cocaine, xanax and something else in her system that caused her to be "Under the Influence". The City of Santa Monica initially charged this woman with a misdemeanor, yes you read it right, misdemeanor. We had to fight tooth and nail with the Friends of Sunset Park to help get her prosecuted properly. She had several issues that made her DUI have what they call enhancements. She had her own child in the car, she was in a school zone, she injured a child, etc.. but the City of Santa Monica initially charged her with a misdemeanor. This City publishes where they are going to have a "DUI Check point". How absurd is that? People will drive around it. They do not take seriously just how much the congestion and sidewalk lights, and need for more city lights can all affect and change the lives of people in an instant. Marsha Moutrie and the City Council should be TOUGHER on crime, but it seems they just want to look the other way and hope that a person on vacation doesn't get killed due to their negligence. We have more gang violence, serious crimes, and less prosecution these days it seems.
Dan Charney August 27, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I have major issues with Santa Monica for selling out in a big way in areas that are making us more congested and filled with many undesirable activities- but that is what is happening- I'd like them to bulldoze the gang areas and be serious about not just prosecuting drunk, drugged, texting, cell phone using or crappy drivers but not allow cars at all in heavy pedestrian ares- we have great little bus(s) that can shuttle people around the Mall area and the Ocean Ave area- it would be great to have safe zones- I am sorry to hear they were like that with the woman who hit you - and surprised - MADD has come down very heavily and made mandatory certain problems for drunk drivers and it's also a huge source of revenue for the city- I am sorry for your horrible experience- I am pretty fed up with this city I've loved since 1972- i hate what it's becoming between gang types and pretentious types it's as though all the soul of the city that was artists and regular working folk and families is gone- as goes the rest of LA- we are still better than many areas-
I Need Java August 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Brian, I think we have to be a bit caught up where it happened (not the whole argument about Arizona vs 2nd) because this continues to be a poorly designed intersection - I live at 3rd & Broadway and drive Colorado home from PCH every night. And I assure you that every night, pedestrians are not watching, people are racing up from Ocean and from 2nd, you have a bicycle garage right there and the mall distractions - it's an ongoing recipe for disaster as occurred here. The city is making it worst by adding an 8 story parking garage on 2nd just past Broadway which will bring more traffic to the downtown area. Don't mistake my complaint for any sympathy toward the drunk driver, but this whole area is a cluster and more accidents are bound to happen - sunny days, lots of tourists, way too many cars for this area.
Anthony D August 28, 2012 at 03:31 PM
It's not just Santa Monica it's the traffic in L.A. period! I even got hit by an SUV while crossing Hollywood blvd! I had the right a way and some Jersey Shore looking guy ran a red light hit me and threw me 15 feet! Luckily I was ok. But still that stuff happens nearly everyday! Worst part was some cops were a half a block away saw it and didn't even help or come over there!
Glenn E Grab August 28, 2012 at 05:22 PM
anthony, with an attitude like yours, you'll end up being "dead right"...the laws won't protect you, only you can...by your own vigilance...being right doesn't matter.....staying alive does...
Dan Charney August 28, 2012 at 06:17 PM
@Anthony D But that was part of why we all moved out here long ago, to get away from all the congestion and traffic of LA - it was not like this in Santa Monica until a little over ten or so years ago - it's the sell-out to developers that has brought all the traffic
Gary Kavanagh August 28, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Buildings don't create traffic, cars and the people who drive them do. There are cities in the world with even a higher population density than we have, but fewer traffic jams and a higher quality of life, where is pleasant and safe for walking and riding a bike. It's not impossible and it's not rocket science, but it does require a political backbone and a willingness to not always prioritize the vast majority of our most valuable public assets as giveaways to drivers.
Canuck August 28, 2012 at 09:04 PM
No one has seen anything like downtown Boston -- from pedestrians to drivers. Cars doubler parking with motors running, several in a row, and pedestrians walking around and between them...no one paying attention to traffic lights. It was amazing that it seemed to be a way of life. I stopped to talk to one of the cops on mounted patrol and said I was from California and told him I was amazed at this. I asked him why didn't the cops cite these people and he looked at me and said, "Are you kidding? If we did that, there'd be another revolution.". To this day, I wish I had a dollar for everyone who relocated here and thought we were nuts because they got a jaywalking ticket and just couldn't understand it (the last "victim" being from Ohio). Don't EVEN get me started on these self-righteous bicycle riders who are constantly ignoring Stop signs. I may recall only one...and I see them constantly daily.
Dan Charney August 28, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Yes- Boston is terrible - the last time I was in Rome and Paris they were driving up on the sidewalks too- comparatively, we are Mayberry- but still as someone else mentioned, there are far more intelligent and eco and city friendly ways to plan development and once again, this country is way behind in adopting these ideas-
Melody C. August 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
That IS why we moved to Santa Monica. Now it's turned into a place where you can't be safe from cars, gangs, homeless attacks, and you are taxed higher than any other city nearby. Your monthly property tax bill would scare the daylights out of anyone who was a renter! They advertise they are eco friendly yet NO parking garage I've found in Downtown Santa Monica (other than the Civic Center one) has charging stations for electric cars like my Volt. I wish it was as easy as placing my twins (who are now 6) on the bus and rolling downtown, but then you HAVE to deal with the sleeping homeless on the bus, the overcrowding, the vulgar language spoken by the teens, and with a child that was given a Traumatic Brain Injury from a DUI driver overstimulation like that would send him into seizure mode. There comes a time when we have to say
Dan Charney August 29, 2012 at 04:54 PM
@Melody C- There are charging stations at Virginia Park and I am sure if you call the city - they will tell you where they all are- I never go near the Mall or downtown or Ocean Ave and hide on weekends- i will take the bus if going to a congested area where parking is limited and tickets are not- 310-438- 8301 is the City Manager's office- they can tell you where to find a full list of all chargers available
Glenn E Grab August 29, 2012 at 08:48 PM
melody, if you live in Santa Monica, why do you need to charge your car in a parking lot?...it can't be more than a few miles from your house...
Sara Fine August 30, 2012 at 09:54 PM
dan charney -- reporters are supposed to get their facts right. So Marcie has every right to demand better quality.
Dan Charney August 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM
sara fine- A types unite- humans make mistakes- robots and machines not as much - she acknowledged it immediately and corrected it- it's marcies abusive tone I have a problem with - that is about marcie- not jenna's mistake- and so is your defense of it- we are lucky to have this little interactive community paper- so she made a mistake - let's not make it into the death penalty for it-
Sara Fine August 30, 2012 at 11:12 PM
right on rj
DeniseGW August 31, 2012 at 12:48 AM
You want the facts? the fact is, The australian family entered a crosswalk against the red. First mistake. Then some idiot gets drunk, gets behind the wheel of a car and runs them down killing a husband and father. Second mistake. The fact is, in every story written there will be mistakes. But the fact remains, a 26 year old killed someone because she made a decision while intoxicated. The Australian family wasnt drinking and they made a mistake. Somebody died people because of the mistakes both parities made. Either way you look at it. It's a tragedy that both sides have to live with forever.
DeniseGW August 31, 2012 at 12:50 AM
and yes, I know my typing is terrible and so is my spelling!!
mimidunkelman August 31, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I know this intersection where this happened. How many times have I been tempted to run against the light as I would go to the old Santa Monica Place year after year. Park at Sears and cross at that light.There are several traffic light poles here within a 1 block area, Plus, there are those 3 ft poles in the ground to prevent cars from crossing, turning into the parking structure. I was just over there at that spot a month ago. Its confusing with all the lights different colors and only a few feet between them. And yes, that time there were people crossing against the light. Its very tempting after dark, to not wait for the light to turn. Coupled with the drunk driver, a tragedy happened. I pondered this for days after, thinking what was the wife thinking and what on earth was she going to do etc. Im so sorry Mrs Mara. So sorry.
Mara T October 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
About 30 years ago my elementary school daughter was walking in the crosswalk, with the light, and an older woman we stuck between some of those confusing lights.... she chose to drive on ahead, striking my daughter (but not hard enough to do any damage). I got the license plate and called the SM Police. They assured me they would go and see that her driving skills were reassessed. I agree... a very bad intersection.


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