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Published:February 5th, 2014 11:33 EST
In Bradenton, Florida, 79-Year-Old Doreen Landstra Backs Over 7 Elderly People, Killing 3!

In Bradenton, Florida, 79-Year-Old Doreen Landstra Backs Over 7 Elderly People, Killing 3!

By John G. Kays

It`s only with a great deal of difficulty, that I`m able to cover the troubling story of 79-year-old Doreen Landstra, who ran over 7 people with her white Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, killing 3 and seriously injuring 4 other senior citizens in Bradenton, Florida (between Sarasota and St. Petersburg). I took note of the unpleasant details from several local news sources (mainly Bay News 9 and the Bradenton Herald), after first noticing the shocking accident on CNN. Two items immediately caught my attention and raised some questions, which to some extent, still haven`t been resolved. One item mostly cleared up once I took a peek at a map of Bradenton (and read over the Wikipedia entry), but the other...?

Well, that wasn`t one I could resolve too easily; how could a woman, 79, just leaving church at 11 AM, run over so many people (seven)? She puts the SUV in reverse, when she thought she had put it in drive; okay, I don`t have any problem in understanding that part of it, but how hard did Doreen slam down on the gas pedal? In other words, what was her speed as she backed up into the elderly people? Had she gained acceleration up to 25 or 30 MPH? How could she be going that fast if she was just backing out? And how far away from her Tahoe were the people? Couldn`t she see them in her rearview mirror? I just can`t yet picture the scene in my mind, although I know it happened!

I`ve seen plenty of news footage showing the topsy-turvy scene at Sugar Creek Estates Mobile Home Park, such as Doreen`s white Tahoe, half-way submerged in a daunting creek, but I`m still unable to simulate the tragic accident, when I review blow by blow accounts of eye-witnesses, provided in the news. To put it bluntly, I don`t see how she could completely run over that many people. I`m picturing, they must have been clustered together very closely or tightly. Perhaps, they were talking to one another in a small group circle, I don`t know?

Doreen`s speed had to have been more than 5 MPH; I reason, it must have been greater than 10 MPH even! How about 15? Faster than 20 MPH? Maybe? It just doesn`t make any sense. This illogical or non-sensical quality, in my way of thinking, deepens the tragedy of this incident a great deal more. Another fact that adds to the mystery, is that no alcohol was involved; actually, Doreen Landstra was just exiting the parking lot, having just attended church services. This adds to the mix and makes it even more horrible! But what about the possibility of prescription medication? Did Doreen take any strong prescription drugs?

And once she realized she was going backward, not forward, why didn`t she slam on the brakes? That`s another thing I can`t seem to understand; unless, she thought she was hitting the brakes, but instead she slammed down hard on the gas, causing her to go even faster. This would explain why she totally lost control, if she indeed, had mistaken the gas pedal for the brake pedal. I reason, this must have been what happened. She pressed the gas extremely full-tilt, believing she was pressing down on the brake; the two pedals are very, very close to one another, and if you can`t feel too good in your legs and in your feet, it`s most easy to confuse the two.

I don`t know that I`m getting it right, but it helps to work it out on paper; for me, it needs to make a modicum of sense, although it doesn`t appear to have a rhyme or reason to it, if you just look on the surface. Age has to be a factor; one television story has a wise Florida trooper addressing this touchy issue, where we find, the Sunshine State leading the way, with senior citizens in retirement living the good life, but also chalking up hefty statistics by way of traffic accidents, many of which are fatal. Needless to say, poor Doreen Landstra has a heavy burden to bear for the remainder of her days on earth.