View Full Version : GUILTY CA - George Weller, 86, drove through farmers market, 10 dead, 16 July 2003

01-06-2004, 09:56 AM
Remember this:


01-06-2004, 10:59 AM
We had to write a letter to the DMV about my Grandfather-In-Law, years ago. He was witnessed by another relative going up the exit ramp to get on Interstate 79 on the East Coast. Tragedy was avoided, but he never told anyone about the incident afterward. After receipt of our letter, the DMV asked him to come in for a test, rather quickly, and he failed it BIG time, for lots of reasons, one was the medication he was taking. He never drove again, but ended up enjoying another reason to spend time with other people, while they took him where he needed to go. It was a lousy feeling to have to write that letter, but it actually should have been written months before it was. Thank God we don't have to see him in the situation of this man in CA, or the families he hurt so much.

Jeana (DP)
01-06-2004, 03:35 PM
I think this was a horrible horrible tragic accident. However, I don't see what good putting this 87-year old man in prison is going to accomplish. I don't see what the prosecutor is attempting to prove here. Its pretty obvious that the man should not have been driving in the first place.

01-07-2004, 11:51 AM
I agree Jeana. I mean...he is an old man, what good would it do to put him in jail at this point in his life? Like you said, he shouldn't have been driving in the first place.

11-20-2006, 01:32 PM
Elderly driver faces sentencing in deadly market crash

POSTED: 8:44 a.m. EST, November 20, 2006

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- An elderly man who crashed his car into an outdoor farmers market three years ago, killing 10 people and wounding 73, faces sentencing on Monday.
George Russell Weller's daughter made an emotional appeal for the judge to hand down a light sentence of probation, saying her father, who is 89 and in ill health, is "dying before our eyes."

Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson has a unique dilemma: How to punish an ailing convict whose case has created endless sorrow but few calls for imprisonment. Even some surviving victims have said they do not want to see Weller go to prison.

Weller was 86 when his car plowed 300 yards (275 meters) through the Santa Monica market at up to 60 mph (96 kph) on July 16, 2003. The victims ranged in age from 7 months to 78 years.

His attorneys said he panicked after confusing the accelerator with the brake. Weller did not testify, but jurors heard a taped interview with police immediately after the crash in which he said he tried everything he could think of to stop.

More at link:


What do y'all think his sentence should be?

11-20-2006, 02:07 PM
First choice - I think he should be under house arrest and no longer permitted to drive. Second choice - He could be sentenced to a minimal amount of time in the prison hospital because of his deteriorating health. There was another elderly man who did the latter and his term was 6 months. Mr. Weller reminds me of my father (physically) and it is hard to be objective.

11-20-2006, 03:12 PM
I just got the breaking news from the local Los Angeles station, KNBC. He was sentenced to probation. More at the link:


11-20-2006, 03:49 PM
I just got the breaking news from the local Los Angeles station, KNBC. He was sentenced to probation. More at the link:

Thank you for the link. I am so glad he was sentenced to probation. I think that was wise.

11-20-2006, 03:59 PM
I was wondering what happen to this case.. it is sad.. I'm glad he didn't get sent to prison.. Hopefully they took his drivers license away...

11-20-2006, 04:13 PM
But, but, but... (Devil's Advocate here, not really about the sentence per se) didn't daughter have some responsibility/culpablity to talk to her father's doctor before this occured and say "I don't think dad is a safe/competent driver anymore" and get it revoked before the fact? Believe me, having been through it twice (and am in general an advocate for the rights of the elderly and more enlightened attitudes towards them) I understand how important it is to the independence of seniors to be able to drive and how insistent and angry they can become to suggest maybe it's time to stop, but that's the point: they're not going to voluntarily do it and it takes a loved one to protect not just their parent but all the other drivers (bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.) out there from being the victims of someone who shouldn't be on the road anymore. Anyone reading this who has a relative over the age of 85 (as this man already was three years ago) who is still driving needs to take a hard look at that situation.

11-20-2006, 04:50 PM
My cousin broke her leg in this incident. I saw her about a year after at my uncle's funeral and she claimed she had PTSD from it. I haven't seen her since then (2 years ago) and I still haven't decided if she really had PTSD or if she was lying about it so they (the others involved) could set up some kind of lawsuit.

11-20-2006, 06:04 PM
I agree, southcitymom and PaperDoll, this is the best outcome. It seems that most of the surviving victims feel this way too. From what I was watching on TV. It's very sad. I don't think he's been able to drive since the accident. I don't know if his license was taken from him or if he voluntarily stopped driving. I think he's too sick to drive now. I think he has cancer now or was being treated for cancer during certain stages of the trial. I also think that adult children of seniors need to keep an eye out for their parents. I remember when my grandfather had an accident that wasn't even his fault. He was 86 years old and told my mom that it was time for him to stop driving and that was it.

11-21-2006, 09:42 AM
The judge said he agreed completely with the jury and called Weller's actions callous and showing "an enormous indifference to human life."
Did the judge say this because he steered his car into the people or did he not act sorryful afterwards?? Just curious.

11-21-2006, 10:52 AM
Did the judge say this because he steered his car into the people or did he not act sorryful afterwards?? Just curious.
On NPR this morning, they reported that after this old man finally stopped his car - with a pedestrian on the hood and a woman under the tire and numerous other men, women and children dead and mangled in his wake - he got out of the car and said to onlookers "What about me? What about me? How do you think I feel? Why didn't you people get out of my way?" or something along those lines. I believe this is why they are calling his crime so callous.

11-21-2006, 02:02 PM
I have a feeling that this man must have been suffering from the early stages of demetia or something. To get out of your car and say something like that. Wow.