Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Alerts to include straying seniors

"This is her legacy, and it will save lives," said Mary Lallucci of Belleair, who realized her mother's death meant something.

ALEX LEARY | Times

"This is her legacy, and it will save lives," said Mary Lallucci of Belleair, who realized her mother's death meant something.

TALLAHASSEE — Surrounded Wednesday by the governor and top state law enforcement officials, Mary Lallucci of Belleair realized her mother's death meant something.

"This is her legacy, and it will save lives," she said.

Gov. Charlie Crist signed an executive order creating a statewide "Silver Alert" program to notify motorists about senior citizens with Alzheimer's or dementia who drive off.

In February, Lallucci's 86-year-old mother, Mary Zelter, left an assisted living home in Largo. Her car was found a week later in the water near Clearwater Beach.

The new program, already under way in Pinellas County, allows the broadcast of information about missing drivers, much in the way that Amber Alerts notify drivers about missing children.

"In a missing person situation, getting the word out, and getting it out quick, is key to a swift and safe recovery," said Gerald Bailey, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

An alert will be issued if a person is 60 or older and there is a clear indication he or she has an "irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties," according to the program guidelines.

It can also be used for people age 18 to 59 with the same problems and law enforcement determines that the person lacks the capacity to consent.

More than 4.3-million Floridians are 60 or older, and about 501,000 are probable Alzheimer's cases, according to the Governor's Office. "We have a duty to honor them with our utmost respect and dignity," Crist said.

Eight states currently have a Silver Alert program, and soon there could be more. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, sponsored a bill that passed the House last month that would allocate $5-million from 2009 to 2013 to implement the system nationwide.

Alerts to include straying seniors 10/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 9, 2008 12:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges

    Criminal

    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?

    Editorials

    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination

    Civil

    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.