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Supreme Court refuses to examine conviction in Santa Monica farmer's market crash that killed 10

September 17, 2009 | 11:38 am


The California Supreme Court today refused to review the conviction of an elderly man who plowed his car through the Santa Monica farmer's market in 2003, killing 10 people and injuring 63.

As a result, his conviction stands.

George Russell Weller was 86 on July 16, 2003, when he crashed his 1992 Buick LeSabre through a wooden-and-plastic barricade and plowed through pedestrians at the popular open-air market.

Prosecutors in the criminal case against Weller suggested that he had been trying to flee a minor accident. Though lasting less than 20 seconds, the mayhem claimed, among others, an infant, a 3-year-old, a married couple, a homeless man and an octogenarian.

Weller was convicted in 2005 of 10 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for one of the worst pedestrian tragedies in U.S. history. The jury decided he acted criminally after seeing images of carnage, including a body draped over the hood of Weller's car and another beneath the wheels. Weller was sentenced to five years' probation. He is confined to his home and receives 24-hour nursing care.

The city of Santa Monica and other defendants agreed to pay $21 million to settle dozens of civil lawsuits arising from the crash. 

--Shelby Grad and Maura Dolan

Photo: George Weller in court. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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