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French villagers unite to ban deadly elderly driver

Joshua Melvin · 23 May 2014, 10:40

Published: 23 May 2014 10:40 GMT+02:00

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A 77-year-old driver in the village Saint-Jean-le-Vieux has been in three separate deadly car crashes since 1989, with the most recent in April, and now local residents believe it’s time he’s yanked off the road.

They have started gathering signatures in their town in south-eastern France on a petition pushing local authorities to cancel once and for all the man’s driver’s license, French daily Le Parisien reported.

“It’s not a lynching, we just want him forbidden from driving a car,” an unnamed petitioner told reporters. “People are afraid.”

After the most recent crash the elderly driver’s license was suspended for six months. A court is to decide in July whether his driving privileges should be reinstated.

The unnamed driver collided with a motorcyclist in April, leaving the rider dead. Before that there was the April 1997 crash that killed a stay-at-home mother, which led to him spending four months in jail. And back in 1989 he was also convicted of a crash that killed an elderly person.

The driver, a former trucker who likes to cruise at top speed, is known for recklessly driving a large four-by-four on the village roads, Le Parisien reported. Apart from the fatal crashes, he also ran over a person in a pedestrian crossing in December 2012 and plowed into a parked car earlier in 2014.

It seems he’s managed to keep his license because most of his troubles happened prior to France adopting a points system for driving infractions. Also, the fact that he was a member of the local commission that weighed the revocation of delinquent drivers’ privileges may not have hurt.   

Some residents of the village also suspect the driver is narcoleptic, which causes him to nod off while behind the wheel. However, his son, unnamed in French reports, disputed that theory.

Story continues below…

“My father had a medical examination for his license and everything came back OK,” the son told reporters.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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