Elderly man crashes into Parma post office, runs over man inside

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 10:22 PM EST
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PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - An elderly man accidentally crashed into a Parma post office and ran over a pedestrian in the process.

On Monday 19 News obtained body camera video from the terrifying incident. Parma police said the driver, who was 89 years old, accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.

“Alright I need a translator, ask him what’s going on,” an officer said in the video. “Do you know who he is?”

“He’s my grandfather,” a young man responded.

Police said the 89-year-old man was trying to park in a parking spot outside the post office on State Road when he accidentally hit the gas and crashed into the post office, hitting a 41-year-old man inside. The incident happened around 3 in the afternoon back on October 7th.

“What happened?” an officer asked the driver.

“I just lost control,” the driver admitted. “Instead of the break, I put on the gas pedal.”

Police said the driver was cited for not controlling his vehicle. The victim was injured but survived the accident.

Experts in aging like Lisa Weitzman with the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging told 19 News that pedal error accidents are very common among the elderly population. She said it’s a tough conversation to have with a loved one, but it’s an important one.

“We do hear about it in older adults, that cognitive challenge or the ability to respond to a situation in that moment they do confuse that brake and the gas and unfortunately this just had tragic consequences,” Weitzman said.

Weitzman said there are warning signs that family members can look out for that could mean it’s no longer safe for your loved one to get behind the wheel.

“Are they having issues with their hearing, are they having issues with their vision, are they having issues with pain? Maybe perhaps someone has pain in their leg, and it makes it harder to switch to the gas and back. Are they having issues with upper body strength so turning the wheel suddenly,” Weitzman explained. “Are they having cognitive issues, are they getting lost?”

Sometimes in situations like this police officers can request that the driver take another driver’s test like the one we take to get our licenses to make sure it’s still safe for that person to drive. Police weren’t sure if that had happened in this case.