79 year old Doreen Landstra ran over seven people as she backed out of a handicapped space on Sunday morning. The incident happened at a 55 year and older mobile home community, Sugar Creek, in Florida. Landstra and her 87 year old husband were leaving church at the time.
Landstra reportedly lost control of the vehicle, hit the pedestrians, jumped a curb, and then landed partially submerged in a creek. She thought she put her Chevrolet Tahoe in drive when it was really in reverse. FHP Trooper Brett Fitzpatrick said "Instead of going forward, she backed up uncontrollably into a group of people standing and visiting behind her."
Johanna Dijkhoff age 80, Wilhemina Paul age 70, and Margaret Vanderlaan age 72 died as a result of their injuries. An 89 year old man, 71 year old man, 75 year old woman, and 67 year old woman received serious injuries and were taken to Blake Medical Center. Since the accident, one person has been released from the hospital. A Sugar Creek resident said of the incident "As we get older, we have to watch how we drive. This is terrible."
EMT Murial Watts described the scene as "People on the ground bleeding. It was a horrible sight." The first victim Watts came to she said "She was in her 70s and 80s. I knew she was gone. I could feel no pulse. I had to bodily remove her sister, who was on the ground over her." Watts then helped a man "with tire tracks from his ankles to his armpits."
Charges are pending as the Florida Highway Patrol investigates. The residents held a candlelight vigil at a flagpole in front of the clubhouse to remember those who died.