Daughter Says 89-Year-Old Mother Got Confused While Driving

DENVER (CBS4) – The daughter of a driver involved in a deadly accident says her mother often got confused and lost while driving.

Police say the 89-year-old drove the wrong way down E-470 Sunday night and hit another car head on near the Quincy exit, killing her and the other driver.

Just after 8 p.m. a report came to police about a car driving in the wrong direction on E-470. Just a few minutes earlier Aurora police had received a report of a missing woman, Odean Wheetley, who was about to turn 90. It turned out Wheetley was the driver going the wrong way on the highway.

A police report CBS4 received indicates Wheetley’s daughter said her mother had gone to lunch at 2 p.m., adding she often gets confused and lost while driving.

The driver of the other car was Grier Laughlin, 37. The three children in his car sustained minor injuries and have now been released from the hospital.

Wheetley’s age may or may not have been a factor on the foggy night.

In Colorado people over 66 must appear in person for a license renewal unless they provide an eye exam. Their licenses expire every 5 years instead of 10.

“Our driver’s license examiners can request that a retest be done,” Mark Couch with the Colorado Department of Revenue said. “There are other instances by which a reexamination can be requested.”

It can be requested by a law enforcement officer, a doctor or a family member.

No states forbid people to drive over a certain age, but plenty of them, including Colorado make driver’s license renewals and vision checks more frequent when people reach the golden years.

  • Trish

    If the daughter knew she got confused why in the hell didn’t she put a stop to her driving? The daughter is partly responsible for this tragady. Now because of her 3 children do not have a father and a wife no husband.

    • Nina

      Why do all of you want to judge the daughter? The mother did not live with the daughter. Also, it was a foggy night. The police are not saying that the woman’s age was a factor, so why are you?

  • Laura

    Yeah, what Trish said. You KNOW your mother is not a safe driver and you do nothing? What an idiot of a daughter. Now the daughter will have the rest of her life to live with the consequences of her stupid decision to ignore a situation she KNEW was dangerous to her mother and everyone in her mother’s path. I just wish these incompetent drivers would only kill themselves and quit taking innocent people with them.

  • Kris

    I have a feeling that this daughter will be sued out of everything that she owns. At least, that’s what she deserves. As the daughter, she has the responsibility to take away the keys, especially because she was fully aware of how dangerous her mother’s driving was!

  • kaytu

    if the daughter knew she was unsafe behind a wheel she should of took keys and car away! she is somewhat responsible for this,

  • Vanessa

    If this woman knew her mother was prone to periods of confusion and disorientation, why in God’s name did she not stop her from driving? I realize that taking care of elderly parents is a challenge. Trying to prevent them from participating in activities they have done for themselves, for years, is difficult; trust me, been there, done that. But, really?

    We as their children, especially as our parents get older and more fragile, are responsible for their welfare; just as they were to us, when we once were vulnerable. When the parent becomes childlike, it is up to us to become a parent to them.

    An automobile is an lethal weapon, espeically, in the wrong hands and in certain situations. We have seen the consequences of that fact way too many times, just in this past week alone. This daughter is equally responsible for this tragedy. Now, her mother is gone; a father is gone; and three children will carry the scars of this tragic incident for life.

    Why? Because a daughter would not take the responsiblity for caring for someone, who once cared for her.

  • Larry

    My thoughts exactly!! When I heard this story early this morning, that was the first thing I said….. What the hell was that daughter thinking? Where is the responsibility factor here? It’s not just from parent down to child, it is both ways! When…. not if….. I show signs of that, TAKE AWAY MY KEYS. I won’t mind, and I will probably thank you!!

  • Bubba

    all I can say is…we’ll see how good you all are parenting your parents when your time comes. The judgmentalism is dripping from your righteous mouths.

  • Another opinion

    Leave the daughter alone! You do NOT know how hard it is to take away the license of an elderly loved one who does not want to give it up and I’m talking from a legal standpoint. My grandfather was a horribly dangerous driver. My mother and her siblings tried repeatedly to get him to stop driving, even calling the police and Driver’s license office but to no avail. He had a valid license and a clean record so they could not legally stop him. And he was smart enough to lock his house and keep all his keys away from everyone so he couldn’t be physically prevented from driving. It’s easy to judge after the fact but the laws need to be changed first in regards to the elderly driving. AARP has strongly defended the elderly’s right to drive so start with them first.

  • Susan

    You may call them judgemental but at least they are thinking about the way they would handle it rather than ignoring the situation. That woman and her grandsons are irresponsible and selfish. Their lack of caring has caused a heartache that can never be healed. Who are you to call these people who are showing their concern judgmental this is not your family!

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