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After Running Over 11 Kids, 100-Year-Old Driver Will Surrender Car to Family

The 100-year-old man who backed his car onto a South Los Angeles sidewalk filled with children leaving school, injuring 11 children and three adults, will not be driving anymore, said his 78-year-old daughter.

Police were examining the Cadillac of Preston Carter, 100, to see if it had any mechanical problems after Carter told them his brakes had failed. They were also talking to witnesses. The group of children and adults were waiting to cross the street outside the Main Street Elementary School when Carter backed into them.

When he was asked by a local television station about hitting the children, Carter said, “You know I’m sorry about that. I wouldn’t do that for nothing on earth. My sympathies for them.”

His daughter Ella Fleming, 78, said the family was grateful that no one was killed in the accident. She said her father would not be driving anymore; he was planning to give his car to the family.

“I’m so sorry that it happened,” she told a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, “and I’m thanking God none of them died.”

Carter has a current driver’s license and no history of traffic violations, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Carter turns 101 on Sept. 5.

Det. John Meneses of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division said two of the 14 victims were still hospitalized Thursday but were in stable condition.

Meneses said the investigation into the accident may take weeks. But he said a key focus for investigators will be Carter’s claim that his brakes may have failed, causing him to strike the pedestrians, left victims strewn on the ground and backpacks and other items scattered on the sidewalk. Some of the victims were trapped under the powder-blue Cadillac before witnesses helped pull them out.

“That’s a primary issue for us right now, because the gentleman made the assertion that he had some kind of mechanical failure,” Meneses said.


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