April 20, 2001 (PITTSBURGH) – A hearing in Pittsburgh is examining a traffic accident that left five people dead to determine if Pennsylvania needs to do more to get drivers with potentially dangerous health problems off the road.
Edward Gill, 73, his wife, Angeline, and three pedestrians were killed when he suffered an aortic aneurysm behind the wheel in March.
Allegheny County Coroner Cyril Wecht, a nationally recognized expert in forensic medicine, decided to hold a public inquest on the crash. Wecht said that, while Pennsylvania requires doctors to report impaired patients to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the law is being ignored or overlooked.
On Thursday, Dr. Adele Towers, a geriatric specialist who teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, testified that many doctors appear to be unaware of the law and that the state does a poor job of publicizing it.
According to witnesses at the hearing, Gill’s known medical problems were not severe enough to justify suspending his driver’s license. His doctor had apparently not detected the aneurysm.
Another witness who testified Thursday said that he himself reported his father to the Division of Motor Vehicles after being unable to convince his father’s doctors that he could no longer drive safely.