In the wake of yesterday's horrific car-on-pedestrian accident in Santa Monica, in which 86-year-old driver Russell Weller killed 10 people and injured a score more at a weekday farmer's market, debate has understandably focused on which regulations should or should not be considered to determine if people are too old to drive.
But a friend of mine witnessed the prelude to and the beginning of the carnage, and suggests an alternative explanation to the "he was too old and stepped on the wrong pedal" thesis floated by the Santa Monica cops. Weller, according to my friend, was involved in another car accident just before the rampage, bumping into a Mercedes at a nearby intersection. From there, after coming to either a complete or near stop, he then tore off without talking to the other driver, swerving to the left around the Mercedes, jamming on the accelerator, and then crashing into produce tents and human bodies, according to this account. (The only other mention of the Mercedes I've seen was an eyewitness quote at SurfSantaMonica.com.) The investigation is ongoing, obviously. Meanwhile, some California legislators are talking of reviving Tom Hayden's failed 2000 proposal that would have required every driver over 75 to take a road test.