Published October 21, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A 93-year-old driver apparently suffering from dementia fatally struck a pedestrian, then continued driving through a toll booth with the man's body on his windshield, police said.
Ralph Parker of Pinellas Park (search) drove for 3 miles Wednesday night after striking the 52-year-old pedestrian with his gold 2002 Chevrolet Malibu (search), severing the man's right leg, police said.
A toll taker on the Sunshine Skyway (search) saw the body stuck through Parker's windshield and notified police, Traffic Homicide Investigator Michael Jockers said.
Authorities did not identify the pedestrian.
Parker was hospitalized overnight with minor scrapes, and was expected to be taken to an elder care facility, Jockers said.
Charges were not likely to be filed, because Parker did not appear to know what had happened, where he was nor the correct date, said Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant in the Pinellas-Pasco County State Attorney's Office.
"He may have somewhere in his mind have realized it was a crash, but immediately forgot about it," Jockers said.
Police took Parker's license, which he renewed in 2003.
"That was the one thing he had, to get in his car and just drive for the sheer enjoyment of driving," Jockers said. Parker lived alone after his wife died in 1998, according to authorities.
A spokesman for the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said the agency would conduct its own inquiry into whether Parker, who otherwise had a clean driving record, should have had a license.
Seniors age 80 or older must pass only a vision test when renewing a Florida driver's license.