Motorist, 100, who allegedly hit 9 kids to stop driving, family says
A 100-year-old man who backed his car and allegedly struck nine children and two adults in South Los Angeles on Wednesday will stop driving, his daughter said.Preston Carter's 78-year-old daughter, Ella Fleming, said the family was grateful that no one was killed in the accident. She said that her father would not be driving any more and that 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 allegedly struck the victims Wednesday afternoon shortly after classes had let out at the school at 53rd and Main streets, officials said. The victims ranged in age from 14 months to 48 years old. Four of the children were injured seriously but were listed in stable condition Wednesday night.
Carter has a current driver's license and no history of traffic violations, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said.
Los Angeles Police Department traffic detectives were looking at whether Carter mistakenly hit his accelerator pedal instead of the brake shortly before he rammed into the crowd about 2:30 p.m., a police official said.
Carter was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol as he reversed his car onto 53rd street from the eastern side of a Food 4 Less parking lot and struck the victims, Capt. Jorge Rodriguez of the Los Angeles Police Department said.
“It was a miscalculation on his part,” Rodriguez said. “He thought he was turning onto the street.”
The issue of older drivers was thrust into the national spotlight in July 2003 when an 86-year-old man plowed into pedestrians at a crowded farmers market in downtown Santa Monica, killing 10 people and injuring 63 others.
In California, all drivers 70 years and older are required to pass a vision and written test every five years, DMV spokesman Mike Marando said. Motorists younger than 70 with clean driving records are eligible for two automatic license renewals every five years before having to appear at a DMV office for a vision test, thumb print and photo.
Carter told reporters at the scene that he “lost control of the car,” explaining that his brakes failed.
At his home Wednesday evening, Carter declined to comment further.
-- Ruben Vives in South Los Angeles and Robert J. Lopez