Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Woman, 79, who killed three in Bradenton accident may get license back next year

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A woman who backed into a group of people with a sport utility vehicle earlier this year in Bradenton, killing three, will be barred from driving for a year after pleading no contest Wednesday to a traffic citation.

Doreene Landstra, 79, of Palmetto appeared in a Bradenton courtroom Wednesday morning before Circuit Judge Robert Farrance, who suspended her driver's license for a year and ordered her to pay a $1,000 fine and $106 in court costs.

Authorities did not seek criminal charges against Landstra after Florida Highway Patrol troopers declared the Feb. 2 crash was simply an accident.

Landstra was behind the wheel of a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe that Sunday morning at the Sugar Creek Country Club about 45 miles south of Tampa when she backed out of a handicapped parking space and lost control of the SUV.

The vehicle ran into a total of seven people, killing Johanna Dijkhoff, 80, Margaret Vanderlaan, 72, and Wilhemina Paul, 70, all of Bradenton.

"She should have had her license removed immediately," said John Paul, widower of Wilhemina Paul, who spoke to the Bradenton Herald after the hearing. "She should have stopped driving years ago and this tragedy would never have happened."

The idea that Landstra could attempt to get her driver's license back in a year further disturbed the grieving man.

"That is unacceptable," Paul told the newspaper.

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