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Tustin woman dragged for blocks after being struck by motorist


Tustin police on Tuesday were investigating the death of an 74-year-old woman who was hit by a car and dragged for blocks.

Berna Martinez was walking alone Monday on Red Hill Avenue near an Interstate 5 offramp when she was hit by a Mercury Sable driven by a 79-year-old woman who had just exited the freeway, said Sgt. Todd Bullock of the Tustin Police Department.

Martinez, a Tustin resident, was pinned under the Sable and dragged for nearly three-quarters of a mile, Bullock said.

The driver apparently was unaware she had hit a pedestrian or that she had been dragging a body under her car. She eventually was flagged down by other motorists not far from where Martinez’s body was found.

Tustin police have not released the driver's name. She was identified only as a 79-year old woman from Aliso Viejo. She had not been arrested, pending further investigation.


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Comments () | Archives (27)

Another case why elderly people need to be tested by DMV every year so we are sure they are capable of driving a vehicle.

I agree with mce101087.

Not sure at what age people should be tested on a regular basis, but it sure be more frequent as we age. It would be nice if Doctors, Care-givers, Neighbors and Family had an anonymous way to recommend to the DMV that someone gets their ears/eyes/reaction time tested before their next automatic mail-in driver's license renewal. maybe if someone gets 3 or 5 anonymous referrals between renewals...they have to submit to additional testing.

We live fairly near a large retirement community and I don't drive near it anymore--too dangerous! It's great for people to want to be independant until their last day on earth--but not so great if they're speeding up OUR last day on earth. WHen I did drive near it I was constantly getting "almost" hit and if it weren't for MY reaction times I would have been a casualty many times over.
not worth it. I go the long way around town now.

I heard one old man in the grocery store talking to a friend about this exact matter..."I haven't had an accident in 10 years" said the old man (probably 70+) and the friend (much younger...maybe their child...responded) "I see...but how many accidents have you CAUSED?!"

That pretty much says it all.

Oftentimes the elderly (or even young people who are otherwise impaired through drugs/alcohol, etc) cause great harm to innocent people around them...but they're totally unaware of it! COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS to the reckless way they drive.

I don't understand how the victim's name can be released, along with her photograph, while the driver gets full anonymity. I realize this was very likely an accident and the rains did not help any, but how do you not notice running over a human being and not notice that your car is dragging something heavy all of a sudden? What a tragic way to die. I feel for the victim's family and now for the woman who accidentally killed her that must live with this. Life is so precious.

Yes elderly people should be tested but the most dangerous drivers on the road are those younger than 25. Read the statistics.

mce, my thoughts exactly

that poor poor woman(victim)

This is horrific. Commercial pilots are checked for medical wellness and piloting ability annually, and it's arguable that drivers have just as many lives in their hands. The only reason there aren't annual or biennial driving skill checks is because it would cost too much.

Just because she did not mean it, does not make it a "mistake" we can overlook, if you run somebody over and kill them, your apologies are not enough to grant you immunity, who speaks for the victim?

I'm OK with not charging this lady, as long as they revoke her license. She has no business being on the road.

Yup , geezers accustom to having been in a car their entire lives
do Not adjust to public transit , they just keep on driving .

Not knowing you hit something as large as a human would be a good indicator of ' Past a viable driving age ' .

79-year old driver.

Enough said.

It shows how much more dangerous it is to be a pedestrian nowadays. There are too many distracted drivers and to not realize that you just hit someone show how careless people can be. I am pretty sure age is a factor in this situation, but it would make it even worse if the driver was on a cell phone.

They should definitely test older drivers. It is incomprehensible that someone could not know they not only hit someone but were dragging them almost a mile.

What about knowing and anticipating the dangers of walking past an Interstate off ramp?

Very horrible story.

It's not just the elderly. Take a look around at you at the drivers who share the road with you. When was the last time you saw someone signal for a lane change, then LOOK before actually making that lane change, instead of squeezing into those 2 inches of space in front of your vehicle, or how many have had people practically residing on their rear bumpers! Not to mention people who insist on driving right up on your bumper and using those aweful bright headlights to make you move over. We all need to learn and practice patience and courtesy on the road. It would help a lot.

"I had no idea I ran someone over and dragged them for blocks."

Ray: not enough said! My mom is 86, still driving, and is one of the most careful drivers on the road. She has her reaction times and eyes tested twice yearly and has never been in or caused an accident. And she never talks on a cell phone or texts while she's driving! Many people -- of all ages -- shouldn't be driving, and while it is age related to some extent, that's not the whole story.

Sorry people, CA won't take away their right to get to doctors, stores, etc. Even if they can't see! You vote to be a nanny state you get what you vote for!

Not only should all elderly drivers be re-tested annually for fitness to drive but, even MORE urgently, the millions of unlicensed illegal aliens who now drive on our streets and highways must be prevented from driving -- whatever it takes to do so. Our very lives are at stake.

To all those saying that elderly people need to be regularly tested for driving skills:

How about we just recognize that cars are lethal weapons and that a 35-year-old man or woman (of any race, class or educational background) can also be dangerous? Then we can move toward improving OTHER transportation options like walking, bicycling and public transit.

I think this elderly person or anyone else should have a blood test for drugs or alcohol at the time of any accident and if mental evaluation is necessary, that also should take place. It is good to be concerned, but if we know the facts on prescriptions drugs, illegal drugs, medical weed and the guy waving his finger in anger, age is the least we have to be worried about. Stupidity is prevalent in every age. As a safe confident accident free driver experienced in the largest to the smallest cities, rich neighborhoods and ghettos, when I have seen an airhead do something stupid I looked to see if it was male, female, young or old, it was a tossup, it seems like everyone is stupid at one time or another. When you live in a populated country of a few hindered million people and news travels like wild fire it seem like there are more stupid drivers than there really are. Stupid is more excessive where than drugs and alcohol are common. I think everyone should be tested for drugs and alcohol when every there are accidents and the results should be stamped on our license. This idea does make more sense. Not paying attention 100% of the time while driving is the major cause of accidents. The reasons for not paying attention are not acceptable.

I agree that elderly drivers should be tested by DMV regularly because I'm sure their senses are not at its prime so their safety are also always on the line each time they drive.

But, also, pedestrians should be cautious when crossing the streets and always check for approaching vehicles before they decide to cross.

My prayers are with the victim's family and the driver who I think is very sorry for what happened.

Berna Martinez was a lovely sweet lady she was my cousins wife grandmother and we all miss her very much.

that was my grandma i love you RIP nana bernie

What a horrible accident -- unfortunately, this only goes to show how dangerous elderly drivers can be, especially if they still insist on driving even when their driving skills (visual, cognitive, and motor) are impaired enough to increase the risk of an accident. I think its important to implement mandatory testing for elderly drivers but also, their families should just be as vigilant in keeping an eye on their driving. After all, its the persons who are nearest to them who can observe whether or not they can still see well, react in time, or can exercise safe judgment on the road.


I agree with what some others have said. Elderly drivers are no more dangerous than idiots who text & drive.

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