, Salem, MA

August 22, 2013

Police: Motorist, 85, drives up Salem Hospital walkway

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — SALEM — Police say they’re planning to file an immediate threat complaint with the Registry of Motor Vehicles after an 85-year-old motorist in a Subaru Impreza drove up a walkway at NSMC Salem Hospital yesterday morning.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m., Officer John Burke was dispatched to the hospital, where he met with a security guard, two valets and the erratic driver, according to the incident log. He also observed a white Subaru Impreza halfway up a pedestrian walkway.

One of the valets told the officer that the driver had initially pulled up to him, apparently to have him park her car, but that she then “held up a handicap placard and proceeded to turn right and go up the pedestrian walkway,” Burke wrote in the log.

“It should be noted that it is obvious that this walkway is not a roadway and is intended to be used only by pedestrians,” wrote Burke. “In addition, this area is used by patients, staff and visitors at this time of day, which is very busy.”

The other valet said that he had tried to intervene as the Subaru continued up the walkway, scraping the railing that lined it, but that it took the woman between 3 and 4 minutes to get the vehicle in the right gear. In addition, he said, she started to go forward again at one point, then put the vehicle in neutral and revved the engine.

“He was concerned she would again put it in drive and go straight into the building,” wrote Burke.

When the woman did get the vehicle in reverse, she again struck the railing, at which point the valet asked her to stop and get out of the vehicle.

Officer Burke advised the woman “that she shouldn’t be driving at this time,” he wrote in the log.

“She agreed,” he wrote.

The woman was given a ride home following the incident; the Subaru sustained damage to its passenger-side front bumper and quarter panel and was moved to a nearby parking lot.

No injuries were reported, nor any damage to hospital property.