Aug 25, 2010 6:03 PM by Zach Thaxton

Truck vs. Home: Elderly Driver Faces Careless Driving Charge

Colorado Springs Police say an 89-year-old man with dementia faces a charge of careless driving and will lose his driver's license after crashing backward into a neighbor's home Wednesday morning.

The elderly man backed his pickup down a driveway, across East Cimarron Street, over a curb, through a wire fence and rock wall, down an embankment, and into the southeast corner of a home at 818 East Cimarron Street at around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday.  It's not clear whether the pickup's gas pedal got stuck, whether the man mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal, or if something else happened that caused the crash, but police and fire crews say there is no indication the brakes were ever applied.  "It seems purely accidental at this time," said Lieutenant Fred Salazar with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.  "I can't imagine somebody intentionally backing into somebody else's house."

Galen Horton, 18, was sleeping on an air mattress in the room that was impacted by the truck.  He was not injured, but was startled by the crash.  "Next thing I know, the walls all caved in and my bed was moved to the side," Horton said.  Horton, who was visiting from the community of Villa Grove in the northern San Luis Valley, said if the impact happened two feet to either side, he could have been injured.  Regional Building was brought in to assess damage to the home and deemed it safe to occupy after some structural repairs were made.

The elderly driver was visibly disoriented as he spoke with police and fire personnel following the crash, but neighbors indicated that was due to the man's dementia, not trauma from the crash.  Police say the man did not need medical treatment and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.  He was not arrested.  Police say the man had lost recollection of the incident within 30 minutes of the crash.


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