77-Year-Old Jane Berghold, the woman who accidentally drove her car into Brockton Hospital last October, has been sentenced to 18 months probation and the revocation of her driver’s license for 15 years. Yesterday, the Rockland senior pled guilty in a Massachusetts court to two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle and one count of negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Two people died and two others were seriously injured in the fatal drive-thru that occurred when the breast cancer patient’s car flew through the front windows of the hospital’s radiation therapy unit. The victims’ family members said that given her age and medical condition, they believed Berghold’s punishment was appropriate.
Berghold initially told police that she tried to stop the car by stepping on the brakes but it kept moving. She later admitted to the possibility that she may have accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead. A police probe found that the car sped up to 25 mph before crashing into the hospital.
The deadly accident involving Berghold, is one of a few serious accidents involving elderly drivers that is raising renewed interest in establishing driving laws directed at senior drivers in Massachusetts. In another recent incident in February, an 8-year-old girl was suffered internal injuries, a fractured skull, and a broken leg when an 86-year-old man accidentally struck her with his SUV in front of her Randolph elementary school.
One bill under consideration would mandate that drivers older than 85 take road and vision tests every five years.
In Massachusetts-unlike many other US states-there are no laws that specifically address elderly drivers.
Related Web Resources:
Danger: elderly driver ahead, Boston.com, February 14, 2008
Elderly drivers pose policy-making challenge, Stateline.org, April 29, 2004
If you have been arrested for vehicular homicide or any other kind of traffic violation or crime in Massachusetts, you should contact our Boston criminal defense law firm to explore your legal options. There may be evidence that proves that you are not guilty. There may be a way to get the charges or penalties against you dropped or reduced.
To schedule your consultation with a Boston criminal defense attorney, contact Altman & Altman LLP today.