Preston Carter (pictured) plowed into a group of parents and children who were congregating outside of a Los Angeles elementary school on Wednesday. The centenarian seriously injured eleven victims, 9 children and 2 adults, ranging in age from 14 months to 48-years-old reports the Los Angeles Times.
According to police, the accident was the result of Carter’s advanced age coupled with an unfortunate miscalculation.
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Preston, who has a valid driver’s license and a clean record, turns 101 next week. Carter thought he had backed out of a grocery store parking lot. Be he actually drove his full-sized powder blue Cadillac sedan across the street and onto a sidewalk full of children who were waiting for their parents and adults picking up their kids.
Carter told investigators that he experienced a mechanical problem with his vehicle in regards to the accident. “My brakes failed. It was out of control,” he told CBS KCAL.
As Carter’s vehicle backed up into the crowd of people, folks were pounding on his car window yelling for him to stop because there were children pinned under his vehicle. Backpacks, shoes, candy, loose change was strewn across the sidewalk after the accident.
Carter, who remained calm after the incident, was cooperative with police and was even able to speak with news crews. When he was asked how he felt about hitting the children, Carter told CBS KCAL he did not see them.
“You know I’m sorry about that. I wouldn’t do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them.”
Several studies show that elderly drivers are extremely vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents because of their age. Their declining reflexes, flexibility, visual acuity, and motor skills make it either difficult for them to see the road hazards or, even if they do see another vehicle, they may misjudge the distance or fail to react in a timely manner. Per mile traveled and fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase markedly after age 80, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Carter was not placed under arrest and police are investigating the case as an accident. With regards to the injuries, four children are listed in critical condition but are expected to survive.