Out-of-Control Driver Hits 13 Cars in Downtown Rochester Parking Lot

No one was injured in the Thursday afternoon incident.

An 86-year-old Rochester man backing out of a downtown parking lot on Thursday afternoon lost control of his vehicle and ran into 13 parked cars, police say.

Only one of the cars was occupied at the time, and no one was injured, according to Chief Steve Schettenhelm.

The incident happened behind Main Street Plaza on the east side of Main Street. Schettenhelm said the vehicle responsible for the accident traveled, in reverse, north in the lot, striking the 13 cars. 

The driver was evaluated by the at the scene and transported to .

The vehicle then made a U-shape turn and entered into the alley, where it stopped.

Schettenhelm said alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but that his department is still investigating the incident and trying to determine whether a medical condition caused the man to lose control.

Witnesses posting comments about the accident on the Rochester Patch Facebook page said the man looked "scared" and "confused."

james.stevensforsheriff June 15, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Maybe he shouldnt drive anymore, he could have killed someone out there.
vanessa howell June 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
86 and still driving - ? That's the medical condition he need sot be evaluated for. Don't seniors have to get passed by their doctor each year past a certain age, to be able to continue driving like in Great Britain?
Dano June 15, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Nothing against getting old as we all are going to (hopefully), but there's countless stories about older drivers who are literally "impared" and should not be behind the wheel of a car. Just like making a bad decision to "drink and drive", older people (80+) can be very dangerous drivers. I'm pretty sure they could not pass a sobriety test ( the same administered to suspected impared / drink drivers) so why is there no legislation to have regular testing at a certain age ? Of course this would not be a "politically correct" stance to take for a legislator now would it ? Hence, nothing will be done about it anytime soon.
Linda Raschke June 15, 2012 at 01:56 PM
SAD situation, lucky no one was hurt. Possible medical emergency, at 86 years it's likely.... My Grandmother handed her car keys over to my Aunt when she 86 years young, she felt her response to all that was going on out there on the roads was probably more than she could handle. So we drove her to where she needed to go from then on, she called that "Driving Miss Daisy"......she safely lived to 96 years! I see this type of situation a lot, just yesterday walking with my 3 yr old Granddaughter in the Kroger parking lot, an elderly man driving a blue Chrysler looking "confused/scared" driving & stopping in the parking lot.....After getting my Granddaughter into her car seat, I tuned to go over to him, but he was nowhere in sight.....It's unsafe for everyone concerned....driver, pedestrians....My Father In Law was a different story, he got "lost" in his hometown, he would NOT give up his keys....at 87yrs....So called the Secretary of State, they sent him a notice he needed to come for a test.....that did it....his keys were hung up...He didn't want to take a test! :) This day will come for all of US!
Christopher June 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM
The elderly are a VERY powerful voting block, and even though there are as dangerous as 16 year olds, you will only see regulation limiting their driving after the boomers have passed.
Reggie June 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Article in Troy Gazette - Elderly drive drove over a 70+ gentleman in the Kroger Parking lot while parking and didn't even realize it. Families need to take responsibility and have these folks tested. It's not worth somebodies live.
uknowimright June 15, 2012 at 11:44 PM
This is why I honestly believe that elderly drivers need to be routinely checked on, have their ability to drive re-evaluated on a more regular basis, let's say, after age 65 or 70, and require older drivers to own/operate smaller, compact vehicles. Somebody who is impaired does NOT need to be behind the wheel of a 5,000lb vehicle!
uknowimright June 15, 2012 at 11:46 PM
And NO, this is not to say that I think younger (under 30) drivers are any better. It's just that there is a LOT more oversight on younger drivers (graduated licensing, mandatory drivers' education, etc) than on elderly folks, who are also risky drivers, but have nothing being done to prevent these types of incidents. Thanks.
Patricia June 16, 2012 at 01:14 AM
LInda, you are so correct. Many years ago, my husband took the car keys away from his mother. She was a widow, and he an only child. We had talked with her, even called her insurance company and the police about removing her car and locking it away somewhere as she was unwilling to give it up and after some incidents of confusion and poor reflexes we knew we had to force the issue. In the end, after a rough few weeks, she understood. It was hard on all of us, but the best decision we could do for her and most important for others. We never regretted it. She never forgot it but did "forgive" us and we provided transportation for her and so did our OPC.
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Linda, A very good friend of mine had both his cars parked next to each other... Kristen story is a little messed up... the van after smashing many cars, smashed into one car with such force it spun around and then proceeded in the opposite direction smashing into a car that was parked in the lot from the alley and that car smashed into my friend first car which then smashed into his other car he owned parked next to it... talk about bad luck. Then the driver was evaluated by the Rochester Fire Department at the scene and transported to Crittenton Hospital Medical Center.
Karen June 16, 2012 at 04:32 AM
I actually witnessed the accident. I didn't see the man pull out of his parking space, but I saw his big van plow backwards into a long line of cars. He reached the lane the connects the parking lot to the alley, and suddenly he spun out, doing a fast squealing U-turn through that lane, and hit a few cars that were parked in the alley right behind the Pod Drop Store and Studio One. The noise that the crash made was incredible. I was with my six -year-old & 2 of his friends & their mothers, going to celebrate the last day of kindergarten, and the other mothers were apprehensive about getting too close. I went closer to the driver, and someone had brought out a chair for him, and he looked like he was in shock - very stunned and puzzled that this had happened. He was visibly upset and kept putting his head in his hands. I wanted to see the man, to do the FAST tests for a stroke (my father has had a minor one, & I know what to look for), but there were too many people around him, and my friends wanted to get their kids out of there. I did see many of the demolished cars - some had their trunks ripped right off; you could see all of their belongings. Luckily you could hear the police sirens coming close, so I don't think anyone was stealing anything - also the owners of the cars were already there, freaking out. After lunch, we had to walk back that way, and the white van, which didn't seem to have a scratch on it, was being flat-bedded away. Go see the skid marks.
Susan Heholt June 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Older drivers are actually one of the safest groups on the road. it amazes me that people can take a broad, sweeping statement and lump all people past a certain age into one category. Exactly at what precise age would you like people to disappear? Everyone gets confused or frightened from time to time, and perhaps this gentleman had a medical condition (perhaps acute) that precipitated this incident. I think people should reserve judgement until they have all the facts, and then take it all with a grain of salt. "But for the Grace of God, go I"...
Dano June 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Susan, It's a known FACT that after a certain age ( I would guess late 70's) certain cognative abilities start to go; sight, reaction time, etc. I question your "safest group on the road" claim but I don't have the data to disprove it now / here. Needless to say, There will be many more stories just like this one where elderly drivers will get invloved in more single car accidents and hopefully they don't hurt or kill anyone. There has to be regular testing done past a certain age.
Michelli June 17, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Everyone needs to lighten up a bit. Really? This gentleman obviously has a medical issue, but you may also. Right away everyone is up to judge a situation without all of the facts. Many a time I've had to swerve from drivers that are on their cell phones or screaming at their children in the back seat. I've had several close calls while riding my bike. And it's been from a wide range of individuals. All different ages and sex.
Susan Heholt June 17, 2012 at 10:18 AM
My point is that you can't make a broad sweeping statement about any group. There are good drivers and bad drivers in all groups - men, women, young, old, I could go on and on. I think that all drivers should be tested, with written AND driving tests every six to ten years.
Susan Heholt June 17, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I hope that we get an update on this story? I hope that the gentleman is doing all right, besides the obvious anguish he feels for the incident. And, my heart goes out to all of the people who were affected by this tragedy...
Dano June 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Michelli, Lighten up ? LOL. No one is losing perprective here. Just good ole fashion commentary and opinion shared by many concerned people. I don't see it as being judgemental at all. Everyone makes mistakes and can have a bad day. When you lose control of a vehicle in a parking lot and damage 13 cars, that's a problem. Kumbaya....
Cheryl June 18, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I was blessed with a father who monitored his own driving abilities and limted his driving to daylight and light traffic times as he aged. He attended a class (I believe through OPC) that tested reaction times, providing him with hard data to motivate the decision. I'd like to know if that service is still ongoing-it was such a good idea! Rather than shake fingers and tsk, let's assist our aging population, since will all aspire to join that club one day.
uknowimright June 19, 2012 at 11:33 PM
I watched a 20/20 documentary about, say, 8-10 years ago, where they put a hidden camera in an elderly man's car, on him, and on the road. He disregarded oncoming traffic, was unobservant of the road, and cut off a handful of other drivers. He claimed, in every case where they showed him the footage, "not to have seen" and/or "noticed" what had happened. Yes, they are risky, and according to the documentary, just as risky as a 16-year-old kid behind the wheel. Sorry folks, but feelings get hurt when the truth comes out!
Marc July 06, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Four senior citizens were having their morning coffee at Starbucks. They were all complaining about getting older. The first stated that his eyes were getting so bad he could not read the writing on his coffee cup. The second stated that his knees hurt so much he could barely flex them. The third stated his arthritis in his arms was so bad he could barely pick the coffee cup up off the table. The fourth stated that his hearing was so poor he couldn't hear the previous three complaining. All of them agreed it was great that they could still drive...
Peter Griffin July 13, 2012 at 05:27 PM
ahhhhhh --- i'm so confused --- ahhhhhhhhhh -- what happened??
Peter Griffin July 13, 2012 at 05:38 PM
"Older drivers are actually one of the safest groups on the road." --- seriously? I know this is an old article, but I cannot stand the way everyone comes to the defense of some old driver who got "confused". This happened at the coffee shop in downtown Rochester a few years ago (University and Main on the north/west corner). Some old driver (80+ yrs old) got "confused" when going into the carwash at the gas station across the street. He somehow put the car in reverse and floored the accelerator pedal and went across all lanes on University and crashed into the coffee shop around 7 - 8pm. Thankfully no one was killed, but he caused a lot of damage. Yeah....older drivers are the safest group...right. This happens every month when someone who is too old to drive gets "confused" and causes a wreck (not an accident). Please confine the elderly to their home and take away their keys. If they need to go someplace, they can walk, drive a rascal, take a bus, take a taxi, have their kids drive them, have their grandkids drive them, have their great grandkids drive them, etc.
Peter Griffin July 13, 2012 at 05:41 PM
13 cars wrecked by one person --- THIRTEEN!!!!!!! Who wrecks 13 cars in one swoop?
Ron Harmman November 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Some of these comments are hilarious!


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