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'Elderly' woman speeds into stopped traffic; father, baby killed

Getting older usually involves a gradual deterioration of one’s physical abilities. Even when one’s mind remains sharp in old age -- certainly not guaranteed -- it is natural for eyesight to fade and reflexes to slow. Eventually, it may be necessary from a safety standpoint to give up the car keys.

We cannot yet know if age was a factor in the death of a man and his infant son in October. But police say the woman whose car hit the victims’ vehicle was elderly, and went into an intersection at a high rate of speed with no apparent attempt to brake.

The woman’s car crashed into six other vehicles, including a tractor-trailer. The victims were waiting at a red light when the crash happened. Besides them, the infant’s mother was in the car. She was listed in extremely critical condition shortly afterward.

WESH-TV reports that six people were taken to the hospital in total, three of them with less than life-threatening injuries.

It is not clear why the driver, whose age is not given, failed to brake. The semi truck driver estimated she was going 60 miles per hour.

It is a tragedy any time a child dies. This is especially true when the death could have reasonably been avoided. We do not know if that was the case here, but unless there was a mechanical failure, it does not make sense for a motorist to fail to notice a line of cars at a red light, unless distraction or some other form of negligence was involved.

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