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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The screams of women and children didn't cause a 100-year-old driver to stop as he backed his large powder blue Cadillac onto a sidewalk across from an elementary school and hit 11 people, including nine children.

So people began pounding on his windows screaming for him to stop, a witness said.

Alma Solache said she was buying her children an afterschool snack Wednesday just before the accident outside a South Los Angeles school.

"He was not paying attention," said Solache, 24, adding that it was at least two or three seconds before the vehicle halted and people began pulling children out from beneath the car.

Four of the children were in critical condition when firefighters arrived but they were stabilized and were in serious condition at a hospital, city fire Capt. Jaime Moore said. Everyone was expected to survive, he said.

Children's backpacks, shoes, candy and loose change were strewn about the scene behind a discount grocery store across from Main Street Elementary.

Police said the driver, Preston Carter, was being very cooperative and drugs or alcohol were not a factor in the crash.

Carter talked to television reporters after the crash some five miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. He said he has a driver's license and will be 101 years old Sept. 5.

"My brakes failed. It was out of control," Carter told KCAL-TV.

Asked about hitting the children, Preston said: "You know I'm sorry about that. I wouldn't do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them."

Carter was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, but instead of backing into the street, he backed onto the sidewalk, police Capt. George Rodriguez said.

"I think it was a miscalculation on his part. The gentleman is elderly," Rodriguez said. "Obviously he is going to have some impairment on his decision making."

Elderly drivers have been involved in other tragedies. In 2003, an 86-year-old man mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal of his car instead of the brake and then panicked, plowing into an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 injured.

According to California's Department of Motor Vehicles, people over age 70 must renew their driver's license in person, rather than via the Internet or by mail. Older drivers can also be required to take a supplemental driving test if they fail a vision exam, or if a police officer, a physician, or a family member raises questions about their ability to drive.

Rodriguez said the collision was being investigated as an accident, and Carter was not under arrest. He has a valid driver's license, Rodriguez said.




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  • 187 Comments
      Lt Dan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad when one gets old and loses sence of day to day things but all things come to an end as should driveing when people start getting run over.Just seems like it was yesterday when grandpa couldn't remember where he left his car and we had to take away his keys.
      • 2 Years Ago
      People over the age of 80 should not be allowed to drive, period. Even when they aren't killing or maiming people, they are making the road extremely unsafe for the rest of us. Also, I think everyone over the age of 65 should be required to retake the full driving exam at least every few years.
        cat5400
        • 2 Years Ago
        I agree about being retested, but I don't think that age should be a factor. My father in law drove until well into his 80's and he was a sharp as a tack.
      MANUELITO
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with California law, it is not age discrimination, it is about public safety, and the driver's own safety. it is a great idea to ask 70 year olds and older to renew their driver's licence in person. And I am already 59, mind you, and I will not mind at all if they ask me to go in person when I turn 70 in 11 more years. I will understand. Too bad this man did not have a relative or friend, or neighbor, to convince him to stop driving about 20 years ago. Or maybe he did not have anyone else to help him by giving him rides. My heart goes out to all of the victims.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm 71 and have driven truck for 35 years and the last 5 years I drove a transit bus until I retired a year ago and my licence was renewed until 2017. Do the math I'll be 76. When I need to renew I don't have a problem going down in person and take a driving test. If I can't pass then I should not be driving. If I pass then I would have no problem taking a test every 2 years BUT DMV should give me a break on the cost.
      rocky26900
      • 2 Years Ago
      This guy should be strapped to an execution table in the nearest prison and put to death immediately. ..because there is no excuse whatsoever for this kind of nonsense...and no one who does something like this should be coddled and protected for even one second either. He's lived long enough already anyway. And for those people in the DMV that gave him a drivers license at 100 years of age, they should be executed too.
        Dawnierenee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rocky26900
        WOW now THAT...is mental illness at its' finest, folks. He shouldn't be killed for being stupid, but he should be punished. Should we put you down when you're 100 years old? What excuse will you make the next time you do something stupid, and should you be executed then, too...? God, imagine what kind of world we would live in if we were executed when we made a mistake. It would be an empty one, except for the Church of Christ because they think they're perfect lol
        mykirbyroo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rocky26900
        Aren't you just a big ray of sunshine? Hope you don't live that long. And if you do, I sure hope you're homebound and never leave the house. Good luck.
        Donna
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rocky26900
        With your logic, then, anyone who has ever been guilty of drinking and driving, taking drugs and driving, have had multiple speeding tickets and caused any kind of wreck, etc. should not have a license. Wow, maybe we can go back to horse and buggy....or, better yet, the bicycle. Sheese, what a crock!!!
        Lindy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rocky26900
        wow, harsh.....too bad he doesn't have kids who became the parent when he became senile...hope you live long enough yourself to learn some compassion
      lov2elkhnt
      • 2 Years Ago
      what complete idiot public employee keeps giveing this old fart a james bond license to kill via automobile?
        Counselor
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lov2elkhnt
        He goes into the DMV personally. He takes tests, they give him a license. Are you saying that age alone should prevent someone from driving even if they pass all the tests you and I do ? Age is just a number. If they pass the test, they should be allowed to drive. Anything other than that is age discrimination. I'll bet 2 things: 1. That he has no prior tickets or accidents; 2...you DO have prior tickets and accidents.
          whoisdisstresed
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Counselor
          YOU SAY "THE SAME TESTS YOU AND I DO" WELL GUESS WHAT HONEY, AT THAT AGE THEY NEED A REFLEX TEST THAT PEOPLE OF OUR AGE DONT REQUIRE.........HOW'S THAT FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION..??
      • 2 Years Ago
      I sure hope his license is taken away from him!!!!! I do feel for older people though especially in an area where there is no public transportation. Maybe the Governor of these states should consider "transportation" of the elderly and then maybe they will give it up voluntarily!!! But of course that wouldl mean involving the GOVERNMENT!! Something to think about I say!! Here in MA seniors have access to transportation like being picked up for doctors appts. and food shopping. We have to take care of our seniors as they are the reason we are all here and they deserve help and respect!!!
        Donna
        • 2 Years Ago
        Nancy, not every place has access to transportation and people must drive to get where they are going. This guy's driver's license was valid which means he legally passed whatever test the DMV may have given him. Accidents do happen and this was one of them. So - no, his license should not be taken away from him, but, he should probably be retested to make sure if he can pass the test again.
        klasakt
        • 2 Years Ago
        There are lots of non-profits ... even in the "boondock" areas .... that have transportation programs that are funded thru grants from the local government and donations from the community that do just that. It is the local community that should take the lead and leave the federal government out of it. But until you get people in the mindset of working together like the people who settled this country centuries ago, then this will never happen.
        MANUELITO
        • 2 Years Ago
        agreed; not to mention the fact that once, they took care of us when we were too young to take care of ourselves; the day comes when it is our turn; both my parents meant to world to me, and I am happy to say they were 7 of us, me and 6 siblings, and we all took turns take care of and running errands for them
          MANUELITO
          • 2 Years Ago
          @MANUELITO
          I meant to say there were 7 of us
      JOSE-USMC-0311
      • 2 Years Ago
      100 YEARS OLD DRIVER ??? IS THAT LEGAL AGE TO DRIVE ??
      hattie54
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dang old fool!!!! Too old to be driving.One of the ten people mowed down ( and died ) at the Santa Monica Farmers Market was the wife of actor Dennis Weaver.He died a few years later of cancer.
      jtcamaren
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a driver of almost 36 yrs, a mother, daughter, sister, and wife, I have seen and experienced many things. I have a father with Parkinson's for 11 yrs, we took his car keys away 4 years ago and he agreed. Yes we felt horrible for us and my dad who was always very independant, but it was the responsible thing to do. His mind is just fine it is his reaction time that has slowed. I feel strongly that is you have any member of your family that is not able to drive in any situation given while driving you need to get involved. My thoughts are that yes my father really could still drive, but what about the other drivers that cut you off or in front of you, or a kid that runs for a ball in the street what then? I would be horrified if my father hit a kid, adult, someone's pet or car and I knew he really wasn't up to all of the challenges of driving. Family members need to watch out for eachother and all others as well with driving. I believe that not only an eye test be taken but a reaction test as well, and given more frequently as you get older. I also feel that you must be able to read the road signs, therefor no translators for the driver taking the test. You better believe if I lived in another country I would learn the language and know the important signage. This is just common sense but just smart to survive and not get taken. I find such a lack of respect for this country when people cannot learn the language. I also feel that stronger penalties should be given to those texting, on the phone and speeding. I live in Chicago and now see so many people on the hand held phones everywhere, this is illegal, I guess that the cops got tired of issuing tickets. I drive a van and can usually see in cars next to me and the best is when I see cops on their computers while driving, I talking about 80% of the time, so kidding! Bottom line, we all need to watch out for eachother and face facts about driving responsibility.
        textique
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jtcamaren
        Sorry to hear about your father. My mom is almost 84 and her driving became a constant worry to us (three daughters). She broke her driving foot in the worst possible location. The repair surgery left her with a very unstable ankle and nothing else will fix it. Hitting the brake hard in any emergency would break it again and wouldn't stop the car. It is so hard for her to come to grips with the fact that she simply can't drive again. None of us live in the same city with her, she won't leave the home where my dad lived and died, and her Dr won't help us with the DMV to pull her license - so my husband disabled her car. She had it picked up by a service person but they can't discover what is wrong with it. It is sitting in her garage 2 years later and she still talks about driving it. I'd rather the car lose all value than have her hurt herself or someone else. I agonize regularly about being a deceitful daughter. As to the texting, I often feel like reaching through window and taking the phone. When they are caught, I think they should receive morgue duty. Some people have to be shocked into sensibility.
      • 2 Years Ago
      God Bless that man and lots of Love and Light to both he and his wife! Sorry, there was an accident.... BUT, accidents happen. He was 100, Wow! All the Armchair Judges came out to judge him primarily based on his age..... too bad. By the way, who was that woman blabbering away to the reporters??? She certainly does not speak English....... I hope she does not have a license to drive, she would not be able to read the traffic signs! lol lol lol:)
        ssnugsbug
        • 2 Years Ago
        Get real. At 100 years old no one should be driving. Period. They are too old and not sharp enough to drive safely. Your statement that accidents happen is pretty silly. Of course there will be accidents when one is 100 years old. It might be hard to give up driving but in this case there would be many children that wouldn't be in the hospital right now if this oldster had NOT been driving. Your lol's are pretty sad seeing's how you just don't get it. Put on your serious thinking cap for a change.
          rhodad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ssnugsbug
          I'm 81 yrs old and still driving. I'm very careful and very aware of what I'm doing but I don't drive long distances any more. If my driving is taken away from me, who out there will come to take me marketing or take my pets to the vet or other daily necessities? It's all quite easy to critize others but until you are in their shoes it would be better to think first before speaking.
      • 2 Years Ago
      hey it was an accident..but he likely should not have been driving alone if at all. I got to say though he looked OK for 100 years old, gives me hope that maybe i can be able to do things like that in another 50 years! I mean ive not ever seen any 100 year old people able to get out on there own like he had been able too..just to bad what happened. I am very glad no one seems to be seriously hurt. Im trying too find the word other than inspired by the old timer as i love to be in his shape at 100!
        cafebeege
        • 2 Years Ago
        They were seriously hurt, some critical it said and are now just stabilized. Unfortunately we do need to keep a closer eye on ALL drivers.........young reckless who were never taught proper driving to consider others on the road......drunk drivers of any age........and elderly.
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