1-year license suspension for woman who backed into crowd

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Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 10:33 am

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - A Palmetto woman involved in a car accident that killed three pedestrians will have her license suspended.

79-year-old Doreen Landstra was in court Wednesday morning, where she pleaded no contest, and will not be able to drive for a year.

Florida Highway Patrol cited Landstra after the SUV she was driving backed into a group of people outside of a church at the Sugar Creek Country Club last month.

FHP says Landstra was attempting to back out of her parking spot when she ended up hitting seven people. Three people were killed, and the other four were taken to area hospitals.

John Paul lost his wife, 70-year-old Wilhelmina Paul, in the accident. “I had just walked away, heard the crash and the screams...I ran back, I did not realize my wife was on the ground.”

John and Wilhelmina had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Wednesday he showed up at the courthouse with this message for Landstra.  “I have no anger against Doreen.  I forgive her for it.  It was an accident, she didn’t mean to do it.”

Landstra also was fined $1,000 plus court costs for improper backing.  The Judge Robert A. Farrance told Landstra she can reapply for her license in a year but she’ll have to take a driver’s ed course and the written test.  That is the maximum sentence allowed by law.

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