by Jerry Thebado
In the blink of an eye, an automobile accident in Sun City Tuesday afternoon took the life of an 80-year-old man -- a tragedy that was made worse by the irresponsible reporting of some members of the Fourth Estate.
The accident was caused by 92-year-old Clara Robinson when her 1985 Buick Electra sedan crashed through a crafts fair, plowed through booths, and dragged the elderly man and two others as she motored through the park.
The reason, Robinson later explained, was that a small trash bin that sits on the floor between the two front seats of her car got caught up in her pedals and she was unable to stop.
Police are still investigating the devastating series of events that led to the death of Albert Humphrey but don't expect to file any charges against Robinson.
Here's where the story gets blown out of proportion.
At least one Valley television station responded to the site of the carnage in record speed, interviewed several witnesses, and did a side piece about whether the elderly should be allowed to continue driving. The reporter was even able to find one witness --an elderly man, himself --who agreed that maybe there should be a certain age when Americans are forced to give up their driving privileges. He even admitted that, from time to time, he questioned his own driving abilities.
For those who are motoring into their Golden Years and are unsure of their driving abilities, AARP offers 55 Alive driving courses to help seniors sharpen their skills. Class sizes are limited and reservations can be made by calling 476-4298.
Accidents happen --to the elderly, to young drivers, to 30-something reporters.
I have a friend in her 20s --I can still call her a friend because she hasn't hit me yet -- who consistently forgets to check behind her before backing up.
I have another friend who never uses her turn signal.
I, myself, tend to drive a little too fast, and have even once or twice gotten a racquetball caught under my brake pedal.
Accidents happen. It's tragic that a man died and others were injured. But this accident should only serve as a reminder that we should all --young and old alike -- be fully alert before putting the car in drive.