Elderly Driver Faces Trial in Farmers Market Deaths

An 87-year-old man who drove his car into a farmers market in Santa Monica, California, in July 2003, killing 10 people, has been ordered to stand trial for manslaughter.

George R. Weller will be tried on 10 felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. He could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted on all counts. The crash also injured 63 people.

Weller claims he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake. The National Transportation Safety Board said the likely cause was "unintended acceleration" and that the accident was made worse when Weller panicked. He reached speeds of more than 60 mph while traveling the length of three football fields through the market.

"He sent 63 people to the hospital and 10 people to the morgue," Deputy District Attorney Ann Ambrose told the judge. "That is not merely a tragedy. That is a crime."

The 10 dead ranged in age from 7 months to 78 years.

For an Associated Press article on the case, click here.

For more on aging drivers and the law, click here.