Four people were injured after an elderly driver rammed her vehicle into Planet Fitness gym in Torrance the evening of April 27, 2016. According to a news report in the Daily Breeze, the injury crash occurred at the intersection of Hawthorne and Del Amo boulevards. People inside the gym said they heard what sounded like a loud explosion.
The car went through a wall and came to rest deep inside the gym. One person was on the hood of the vehicle. The driver was described as a woman in her 70s. Three people in the gym who were doing floor exercises were run over. One man, believed to be an employee at the gym, was seriously injured.
Witnesses said he suffered multiple compound fractures to his legs. The driver was not injured. Police said it appears the woman was parking in the handicapped space directly outside the gym’s front entrance, but stepped on the gas instead of the brake. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured victims of this crash. We wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. It is indeed fortunate that no one suffered life-threatening injuries.
Older Drivers and Car Accidents
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70 to 74 and are highest among motorists 85 and older. This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers. Age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember) as well as physical changes, may affect the driving abilities of some older motorists.
In this particular case, we trust officials are looking into whether age or a health issue was a factor. However, the woman, who gave an interview to the Daily Breeze on condition of anonymity, said her foot slipped and hit the gas because she was wearing “pedicure flip flops.” These are the rubber flip-flops you wear after a pedicure so your shoes don’t mess up the nail polish. The woman said she put her foot on the brake and that the slippers got caught in the pedals and she stepped on the gas instead. Police are still investigating the case to determine what caused this crash.
Victims of car accidents caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing can seek compensation for damages from the at-fault driver for losses including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable.