A 48-year-old Marina del Rey woman who worked as a personal trainer out of Gold’s Gym in Venice died days after she collided with a vehicle making an unsafe U-turn in Santa Monica, police said.
The collision occurred shortly before 11:30 p.m. May 7 in the 1700 block of Ocean Avenue, south of Colorado Avenue, where the driver of a vehicle was traveling southbound and decided to make an unsafe U-turn, Santa Monica police Sgt. Richard Lewis said. While attempting to make the turn across Ocean, the driver did not see an oncoming motorcyclist and turned in front of her, Lewis said.
The motorcyclist, who was unable to avoid the collision, struck the driver’s side door of the car and was ejected onto the pavement, suffering severe injuries, Lewis said. The victim, Sandy DeSoto, was treated at the scene and transported to a local hospital, where she was taken off life support May 12, Lewis said.
The driver of the car, a 74-year-old man from New Jersey, was initially taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence, but he was found to have a blood-alcohol level under the legal limit and released, Lewis said. During the investigation, police determined that alcohol was a factor with both drivers, as DeSoto was also found to have alcohol in her system, Lewis said.
The driver of the car told police that he and his wife were visiting the area for their son’s graduation and were staying at a local hotel. When the accident occurred, the man had attempted to turn the car around after passing the hotel, Lewis said.
The accident remains under investigation. A police department investigator will present the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration, Lewis said.
DeSoto, a former model, worked independently as a personal trainer at the famous Gold’s Gym in Venice, an employee at the gym said. Staff members and friends placed a vigil in memory of the fitness trainer near the entrance of the gym.
A brief biography on DeSoto’s website said that she was born in Minnesota and lived in Los Angeles until the age of 10, when her family moved to Guatemala where she attended high school and college.
DeSoto was a certified personal trainer, fitness therapist and specialist in fitness nutrition with more than 20 years of experience. A certified rescue diver and a licensed cosmetologist, DeSoto listed some of her passions in her biography as riding her motorcycle, gardening and hiking.