Six Suffer Injuries, Woman, 73, Dies When Driver Crashes Into Ice Cream Parlour
Around 6 p.m. on the evening of Friday, April 25, 2014, an elderly driver of an SUV struck a group of people waiting to enter an ice cream parlor in Orange County, resulting in six people being injured, with five people being taken to the hospital for medical treatment, and leaving a 73 year old woman fatally injured.
According to Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi, the incident occurred outside of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, located twenty miles southeast of Los Angeles in Buena Park.
Multiple witness accounts at the scene stated that the SUV accelerated forward, hit a small fence and ran over patrons both standing and sitting between the SUV and the restaurant.
Daniel Long, who was with his family eating inside the restaurant, told KCAL-TV “It looked like the guy put his foot on the gas pedal instead of the brake. Long also stated that three people were sitting on a bench when “ he just went straight into them and crushed them up again the window.”
A silver Suzuki XLY, thought to be the SUV involved, was later shown by local television stations reporting the incident with its front end pushed through a fence and into a walkway.
The critically injured 73 woman was rushed to the hospital, where she later died, according to authorities.
Among the six others who were injured, one being a teenage girl, five were hospitalized, two sustaining moderate injuries and three sustaining only minor injuries, with a sixth person being treated at the scene for a slight injury.
Police Corporal Andy Luong stated that both the elderly driver of the SUV and his elderly female passenger were unhurt in the incident.
The elderly driver was cooperative when questioned by police, and was not immediately cited, according to Luong.
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the crash.
Although this accident is over and, for the moment, no charges have been filed, it brings to mind the growing number of accidents involving elderly drivers both in California, and all over the United States. In 2009, the number of licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States was listed at 33 million drivers, an increase of twenty-three percent from 1999. Twenty-five percent of the driving population will be represented by drivers 65 and older by the year 2025, a rise from just 15 percent in 2001.
With an increase of highly publicized tragic accidents, such as this one, caused by elderly drivers, public fears have been raised. And, as the number of elderly drivers increases, the issues of how great a risk they are on the roads and whether states should pass stricter driving laws are posed.
For the victims of the horrific accident that occurred in Buena Park, that hardest part is just beginning. The road to both physical and mental rehabilitation from tragedies such as these can be a long hard process of healing. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.