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100-year-old driver's car examined after he hits 14 people

August 30, 2012 |  1:37 pm

Los Angeles police are examining the car of a 100-year-old man who plowed into more than a dozen people in South Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Officials said they will be looking for any data or mechanical issues related to the car and also talk to witnesses.

They said Thursday that 14 people, not the 11 initially reported, were injured when the driver backed his car into a group of people waiting to cross the street near a South Los Angeles elementary school.

Det. John Meneses of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division said 11 children and three adults were injured Wednesday afternoon when Preston Carter backed his Cadillac into the group waiting near Main Street Elementary School.

Meneses said two of the victims remained hospitalized Thursday but were in stable condition.

The detective said the investigation into the accident was just beginning and may take weeks. But he said a key focus for investigators will be Carter’s claim that his brakes may have failed, causing him to strike the pedestrians.

“That’s a primary issue for us right now, because the gentleman made the assertion that he had some kind of mechanical failure,” Meneses said.

After the accident, which left victims strewn on the ground and backpacks and other items scattered on the sidewalk, Carter's 78-year-old daughter said her father will stop driving. Ella Fleming said the family was grateful that no one was killed in the accident. She said her father would not be driving anymore and he was planning to give his car to the family.

“I’m so sorry that it happened,” she told a Times reporter, “and I’m thanking God none of them died.”

Carter has a current driver's license and no history of traffic violations, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said.

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-- Ruben Vives in South Los Angeles and Robert J. Lopez and Rebecca Trounson

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