Car failure ruled out in Girard fatality in La Jolla


San Diego Police say mechanical failure has been ruled out in their investigation into the tragic death of La Jolla resident and former San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce executive Melissa Bonney Ratcliff. The 45-year-old mother of three was unloading her car in the 7700 block of Girard Avenue last month when a car driven by a 91-year-old female motorist backing out across the street struck her, pinning Ratcliff to her vehicle.

Late last week SDPD Traffic Sgt. Timothy Underwood said investigators are still trying to locate additional witnesses to the fatality.

Underwood said the listed cause of the incident will likely be “driver error,” though there is still much work to be done in the investigation.

Although police are withholding the driver’s name, Underwood said they have looked into her driving record and found “nothing that’s alarming … or of concern in the investigation.”

A re-examination form was submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 24 hours of the incident, Underwood said. The form is submitted when police want the DMV to reevaluate a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

“Once we’re satisfied we have completed a thorough investigation, we’ll evaluate whether or not to send the investigation over to the prosecuting agency with a recommendation,” Underwood said. “The driver is not a suspect yet.”