I have attached an article about the Santa Monica Farmer's market tragedy where an 86 year old man " accidentally" drove through and killed 10 people and injured many others. I would strongly encourage you to take the steps in having her license removed. I know for seniors this is a hard thing to have to give up as they slowly lose more and more of their independence, but when it comes to their safety and the safety of others....
Driver rams crowd; 8 die
Another 50 hospitalized; 15 are critical
Los Angeles Times
July 17, 2003-2:37 a.m.
SANTA MONICA-An 86-year-old man drove his car the length of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market early Wednesday afternoon, apparently hitting freeway speeds as he plowed through a crowd of peak summer shoppers.
At least eight people were killed, one of them a 3-year-old child, as the driver sped for 2 blocks through a market renowned as one of the region's culinary treasures. In addition to the dead, nearly 50 people were hospitalized, 15 of them with critical injuries.
Police said the driver apparently had lost control of his car.
"His statement is, he possibly hit the gas instead of the brake," said Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. "He said he tried to brake, and he couldn't stop the vehicle."
Tests conducted immediately after the calamity showed that the driver, identified as George Russell Weller of Santa Monica, was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Investigators said they did not believe he had suffered any medical problem that might have caused him to lose control of his car.
Witnesses at the market, which attracts as many as 9,000 people every Wednesday, said Weller appeared in a trancelike state as he drove his red Buick LeSabre sedan west along Arizona Avenue.
Bodies bounced off his hood; produce stands collapsed; boxes of fruit and vegetables tumbled in his wake. People who weren't hit could only watch in horror.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He was hitting people and they were just flying," said Parker Hall, 35, a salesman who had stopped to have a look at the market. "You would think it would have slowed him down, but it didn't. When he hit someone, you could hear it, and it was just, 'Boom! Boom! Boom!' "
By the time the car came to a halt, Hall said, two or three people were splayed on the hood and windshield. A woman was trapped under the car, prompting bystanders to lift the front of the vehicle and pull her out. The street was strewn with the bodies of other victims, some apparently dead.
The hood of the 11-year-old Buick was mangled and dented. An apple core and two unmatched women's shoes lay atop its roof.
"It was gruesome," Hall said. "There was fruit everywhere, and they were covered with raspberries and other things." He said the crowd pulled the driver out of the car, and he "looked like he was in some kind of numb state. He wasn't freaking out. It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen in my life."
Another witness, Penny Tremper, 64, of San Luis Obispo, was working at a booth that sells jojoba oil when the car sped by. "I saw his face," she said. "He was determined. You could hear the engine roaring. The word that went through my mind was kamikaze. His eyes were wide and his hands were clenched on the wheel."
Police said the incident occurred at 1:47 p.m., just 13 minutes before the market was scheduled to close for the day. Butts said Weller had just left the post office and was heading west on Arizona when he spotted the farmer's market blocking his path. It was at that point that he apparently hit the gas instead of the brakes, Butts said.
Andy Fisher, 40, of Venice, said he saw the car accelerate. The Wednesday market has a reputation as one of the best of its kind, and attracts a loyal crowd that includes chefs from many of the best restaurants in the Los Angeles area.
Fisher, who runs a nonprofit organization, Community Food Security Coalition, that promotes farmer's markets on a national level, estimated that the car was going 60 mph, a figure cited by other witnesses.
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Spike Helmick estimated that the car hit speeds as high as 80 mph.
Thursday, July 17, 2003