BRADENTON, Fla. - When 79-year-old Doreen Landstra mistakenly backed into a group of fellow seniors Sunday at the Sugar Creek Estates Clubhouse, witnesses said horror and helplessness ensued.
"It looked like it was mayhem," said Kathy Baker, who lives nearby. "They had six or seven ambulances and EMTs working on the people."
Charges against the driver are pending. The incident killed Johanna Dijkhoff, 80, Margaret Vanderlaan, 72, and Wilhemena Paul, 70, according to Florida Highway Patrol. In another retirement park in Palmetto, Landstra's adult son said the family is in mourning for their friends.
"I've seen it all," said Al Danko, 72, who has been behind the wheel for more than five decades. He's been teaching driving for more than 40, and he said he's seeing more and more of his peers sign up for extra training like his to keep current on rules of the road and take advantage of accommodations that a senior can make to drive safer.
Danko said to observe your parents, and other older drivers, closely to see if there are signs of forgetfulness, inattention or other potential problems.