The 88-year old Everett man who caused a fatal head-on collision while driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 had struggled with bouts of confusion prior to the accident. In December, Walter Van Heukelem left his nursing home, drove against traffic and crashed into 27-year old Jeremiah Watkins. Mr. Van Heukelem and Mr. Watkins were both killed in the crash.
Mr. Van Heukelem had been living at the Sunrise Nursing Home, an assisted living center in Everett, for approximately one month prior to the accident. Family members indicated that Mr. Van Heukelem had moved into the nursing home because of his recent struggles with frustration and confusion. Despite these symptoms, Mr. Van Heukelem continued to drive between Sunrise and his previous residence.
More information about the crash can be found at the following site: Elderly Driver Suffered From Confusion.
This unfortunate accident underscores the need for individuals to carry as much automobile insurance as they can afford. Driving can be a dangerous and unpredictable endeavor and maximizing oneâ€™s insurance is the only way to guard against unexpected tragedies.
The accident also raises important questions regarding elderly drivers. For example, what responsibility should an assisted living center have for the actions of its residents? What steps can be taken to guarantee that elderly drivers are competent while also protecting their rights?