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Stoughton, Massachusetts Pedestrian Death: 88-Year-Old Driver Contests Charges That She Struck 4-Year-Old On Route 138

An 88-year-old Canton driver that is accused of striking and killing a child pedestrian is contesting the criminal charges that were filed against her. Ilse Horn allegedly hit Stoughton resident Diya Patel on Saturday on June 13 while the 4-year-old was crossing Route 138 on a scooter with her grandfather and siblings.

Horn was charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation for the Stoughton pedestrian accident, and the state of Massachusetts has revoked her driver’s license. The Registry of Motor Vehicles considers her an “immediate threat.”

Horn has been found responsible for causing five car accidents since 1982. The senior driver was also driving when her husband was killed in a 1992 auto collision.

Charles Gunther Horn died of “massive crushing chest injuries” after Horn’s vehicle “drifted” off Highway 101 in California, striking a sign post and tree branches before flying over Highway 169 and “overturning.” The coroner’s report indicates that Horn fell asleep. No criminal charges were filed against her.

Since her husband’s death, Horn was found at fault for two Newton motor vehicle crashes that occurred within a 3-month period in 2001. In 1995, she was cited for speeding in West Roxbury.

The tragic accident is once more calling attention to state Senator Brian A. Joyce’s efforts to push forward legislation requiring Massachusetts drivers, 85 and older, to pass a comprehensive test every 5 years. There is growing concern that many older drivers may have lost the alertness and quick reflexes needed to prevent a motor vehicle accident from happening.

For older seniors, it can be hard for them to accept that the time may have come for them to surrender their car keys. Not only must they deal with losing some of their independence, but giving up/losing their driving privileges could impact their living situation and their ability to see friends or take part in certain activities.

Regardless, it is important for drivers of all ages to make sure that they are able to safely operate their motor vehicles on Massachusetts roads so that no one gets hurt-otherwise, the motorist could be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death if a tragic traffic accident occurs.

Senior was driver in husband’s fatal crash, Boston Herald, June 26, 2009
Woman, 89, charged in accident that killed girl, 4, Boston.com, June 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Why Giving Up the Car Keys Is Such a Loaded Issue, Caring.com
Time for talking is over for old drivers, Boston Herald, June 19, 2009
Senator Joyce talks about his bill to test elderly drivers, Audio.Weei.com, June 15, 2009
Contact our Boston personal injury law firm to discuss your Massachusetts wrongful death case.