Deadly crash question: How old is too old to drive? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Deadly crash question: How old is too old to drive?

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - It's a tough decision we all have to make one day. At what age does it become unsafe to get behind the wheel of a car?

Sheriff's deputies are questioning a 92-year-old driver who may have been involved in a deadly hit and run in Vista last Friday. No arrests have been made yet, but the driver did say he was driving in the area and thought he had hit an owl. Either way, the latest development brings up the question - how old is too old to drive?

Those mourning the death of Lucas Giaconelli may soon have some answers. The 15-year-old was skateboarding with friends on Thibodo Road in Vista Friday evening when a car hit him and kept on going.

"Everyone was freaking out, didn't know what to do, I was just looking at him and he had blood just draining out," witness Bronson Ayub said.

But 24 hours later during a roadside vigil, and elderly man driving past stopped and told a deputy he thought he hit something on the roadway at around the same time of the accident.

Sheriff's detectives escorted the man home and found damage on the front end of his red Mustang. But as authorities await the results of forensic tests, the teen's friends who witnessed the accident are asking questions.

"If he's 92 years old, why is he on the streets driving?" a friend asked.

Steve Haskins with the DMV says drivers over the ages of 70 can no longer renew their driver's license by mail. Instead they have to go to a DMV office and pass a vision and written test, and their license will be valid for five years.

The only way a person's license can be taken away is if he gets into an accident, is cited or a family member or police officer petitions to have the driver re-tested.

In the last year, older drivers have been the cause of some fatal accidents, and many close calls.

Last summer, two elderly people walked away with minor injuries after the driver plowed into a Chula Vista home.

In October, authorities say a 75-year-old driver who had a bad hip mistook the gas for the brake and drove right off of a cliff at Cabrillo National Monument. He died in a hospital 10 days later.

Another man led police on a slow-speed chase that started in Encinitas and ended on Genessee Avenue off Highway 52. He told authorities he didn't notice the six squad cars and police helicopter following him the entire way.

Most recently, a 74-year-old driver plowed into an El Cajon Carl's Jr., killing a man inside. Those who knew the driver say he did suffer from health problems.

Haskins says the bottom line is drivers of any ages should be responsible for themselves.

"It's really up to the individual person to take responsibility for themselves and working with their physician, 'Maybe I shouldn't be driving,'" he said.

Originally, investigators were looking for a white older model Toyota Camry, according to a description given by witnesses. But the elderly man's red Mustang does have damage consistent with the accident. No arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed.

Authorities did say that while interviewing the man, he did seem sharp for his age. Also, there are no lights on Thibodo Road, which can hinder any person driving.

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