Sarasota News Leader

02/14/2014

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LICENSE TO KILL? OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL A recent local automo- tive tragedy that left three dead and four seriously injured shocked many in the area. Others, however, were not that surprised. That is because the desire to keep the old- est Floridians behind the wheel of a car, long after their physical and cognitive abilities have diminished past the point that it is safe for them to do so, is practically a third rail in Florida politics. In this recent case, a 79-year-old resident of a retirement community in Manatee County was backing out of a parking space follow- ing a church service. Apparently, she hit the accelerator rather than the brake, send- ing her SUV careening through a crowd of churchgoers behind her. The SUV continued across the parking lot and down an embank- ment, coming to rest partially submerged in a canal. Neither she nor her passenger, her 87-year-old husband, was injured. But three women she ran over were killed, and another two women and two men sustained serious injuries. The victims ranged in age from 68 to 89. At first there was considerable sympathy for the driver, who was crestfallen at the carnage. Authorities did not intend to charge her with any motor vehicle violation, chalking it up to a freak accident. Then it was reported that in 2011, she had a similar accident at a McDonald's in Michigan. As she pulled into a parking space, she again OPINION

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