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Fatal crash in Holiday involving elderly driver ignites ‘The car keys’ talk

Pasco County

HOLIDAY, Fla. (WFLA) There’s still no arrest, in the crash that killed a 77-year-old man riding on a motorized wheelchair.

The victim is Larry Small of Holiday. He was headed to a nearby Burger King, and crossing Moog Road in Pasco County, when the driver of a minivan hit him and took off.

Investigators say that driver is 90-years-old and lives nearby. Monday night, the FHP had that minivan towed away.

If there is ever an arrest in this case, it could take weeks.

The crash illustrates the minefield of issues children of elderly parents eventually face when it comes to allowing them to continue driving.

FHP investigators are facing a key question: Is the 90-year-old “person of interest” in Monday’s fatal crash, a 77-year-old father of 3, aware of what happened?

Did his age play a factor?

“I see this time and again in my practice,” said Elder Law Attorney, Melissa Finley Williams.

Williams said the “give up the car keys” conversation is difficult. “The best time to have that conversation is before you’re at the crisis stage,” she said.

Williams suggests, children should be on alert for mild symptoms of driving problems, like, can they handle night driving or driving in the rain?

“Parents are the ones that tell their children what not to do.  And so the children really feel bad saying, hey mom and dad,  it’s probably time to take those keys away” said Williams.

A witness at the crash scene said the driver of red, Dodge van pulled out and drove around the wreckage and took off. “He could have went out and held Larry’s head up or stopped the bleeding or done something.  You don’t know” said Glenn Zimmerman.

At his home, six blocks away from the crash scene, the 90-year-old man, stared blankly ahead, sitting near his damaged minivan.

The victim’s son isn’t holding back. “I understand accidents happen, but hitting elderly veteran that was just going to get a cheeseburger and left him.  You’re a scum bag” said Chris Small.

Elderly people, incapable of driving safely can be a hazard to themselves and everyone else. “Definitely an uncomfortable conversation but very important to have,” said Melissa Finley Williams.

If you think an elderly parent should not be driving, you can file a form with the DMV, and it will determine if the keys need to go.

Drivers 80-years-old and over must renew every 6 years and get their eyes checked.     

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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