Tragically, another life has been taken by an elderly unfit driver purportedly suffering from so-called “pedal confusion”, i.e., hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. Kathy Baker, the beloved CFO of Lawrence Livermore Labs, was killed on 9/22/15 during her early morning workout at the LifeStyleRx Fitness Center in Livermore when an 80-year-old female Livermore resident (identified by ABC News as Mineko Deakin) drove her Mercedes ML350 SUV through the front of the gym and kept going, evidently mentally confused. Five or six others were reportedly injured.
Unfortunately, this scenario of an elderly person who, due to mental or physical disabilities brought on by age or illness, injures or kills innocent victims, is all too common and too little is being done to prevent such accidents. In my decades of practice as a car accident lawyer, I have found that drivers quite often drive long past the point at which they are competent to do so. According to ABC News, Ms. Deakin reportedly had approximately 18 months previously jumped the same curb and nearly run into the same fitness center but no police report was made due to lack of injuries or damage.
While much can be recovered by the victim’s family from the driver’s car insurance, umbrella insurance, assets, and under certain circumstances even from the driver’s physicians or the premises owner’s insurance, nothing can fully compensate the victim’s family for their immeasurable loss.