Accident victim was free spirit, family says

by in News

Personal Injury News

Article Date: 8/26/2009 | Resource: MLG

Accident victim was free spirit, family says

“Casitas Springs woman killed by car in Ventura”

Nearly every day, Susan Herman and her black border collie, Peanut, headed to the beach near Surfers Point in Ventura. Relatives said they were a common sight on the sand — Herman walking and Peanut running in and out of the surf.

They were on their way to the coast Monday for their daily jaunt when both were struck and killed by a car while crossing a street, relatives said Tuesday. Peanut died immediately, and Herman, 60, of Casitas Springs was pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said.

The 16-year-old driver who hit them on Shoreline Drive about 6 p.m. Monday told police he didn’t see them in the road before the collision, and investigators were still working Tuesday to determine who was at fault, Ventura police spokesman Sgt. Jack Richards said. The teen stopped after the crash.

Investigators did not believe the teen was speeding or driving under the influence, but they had not yet determined if Herman was walking in a crosswalk, Richards said.

The teen had not been arrested or cited as of Tuesday.

Richards declined to release the boy’s name because he is a juvenile.

Relatives remembered Herman as a free spirit who was both sweet and feisty.

“She was a product of the ’60s for sure,” said her daughter, Lorie Herman, 39, of Ojai. She called her mother “half flower child, half attorney and accountant.”

Born in Milwaukee, Herman moved with her family to the Los Angeles area in the late 1950s and graduated from Granada Hills High School, said younger brother Mark Herman of Simi Valley.

Herman did some modeling as a teen and once dreamed of being an actress, but after getting married, she felt she needed a “real job” and became an accountant, relatives said. She worked in that profession for the rest of her life.

Although she never went into acting, Herman lived vicariously through the tabloids she carried everywhere, her daughter said. “She thrived on drama,” Lorie recalled. “Her favorite expression was, ‘enquiring minds need to know.’”

Relatives said Herman was outspoken and sometimes blunt.

“She was happy and friendly or she meant business,” her daughter said.

Lorie was Herman’s only child. She had one grandchild, Lorie’s son, Brian McMasters, 16.

Herman was a doting grandmother who often took her grandson on outings, her brother said. “Those two were inseparable,” he said.

When Lorie was working long hours and traveling a lot for business during a separation from her husband, her mom stepped in to help care for Brian, Lorie said.

“She really stepped up and helped me,” Lorie said.

Herman also loved animals. Over the years, she rescued tortoises, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, a cow and a horse, her daughter said. Herman took in Peanut after Lorie rescued her on a business trip, and the two grew very close, Lorie said. Herman also took in some of Lorie’s friends when they needed help.

“It’s a horrific loss,” said Ted Nicolas, Herman’s life partner. The two never married because they always wanted their relationship to feel like a choice rather than an obligation, Nicolas said. They would have celebrated their 32nd anniversary next month, he said.

For more information regarding this article please contact:

Jeffrey Marquart