AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A Christmas night triple fatality accident on Interstate 70 near Tower road is once again raising the issue of how old is too old to be driving a car.
Investigators say the man behind the wheel of a minivan was going the wrong way on the interstate before he crashed.
Gerald Arnett, 86, was killed along with his wife Betty. Katie Paul, a passenger in the pickup, was killed. The driver of the truck, Kyle Parker, survived the crash but was rushed to the University of Colorado Hospital with injuries.
Antonio Gonzales lives near Parker and Paul and told CBS4, “It’s kind of upsetting because they’re young, they’re around our age and someone just driving on the wrong side of the road.”
Investigators have documented other fatal accidents involving elderly drivers. In October, an 84-year-old man had a medical emergency and ran through a red light in Arvada. He was killed. In 2014, a woman was struck on Colorado Boulevard in a hit-and-run vehicle driven by an 85-year-old man. On Highway 93 a Jefferson County deputy on a motorcycle was struck and killed by 83-year-old Kenneth Hosch.
During his sentencing for vehicular homicide he told the court, “I was unaware of the various factors that aging and health can play in one’s ability to drive.”
The Division of Motor Vehicles has no maximum age for driving in Colorado.
“A medical professional a law enforcement employee a DMV employee or a family member can request a retest if they think someone should no longer be driving,” said Sarah Werner.
There is no firm answer to how old is too old to drive.
From his hospital bed, Parker issued a statement along with Paul’s family saying, “Katie was a bright light in every single person’s life she touched. We thank everyone for their condolences, continued support and outpouring of love.”
The Colorado State Patrol has not determined why Arnett was driving the wrong way.