Baby of dead pregnant woman in critical condition

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 28, 2014 12:49 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A man whose pregnant fiancee was struck and killed by a van in a Pittsburgh parking lot says their son was born by emergency cesarean section and doctors are evaluating whether he was harmed by a lack of oxygen.

George Weatherwalk told reporters Thursday that the baby's name is Trace Joseph Weatherwalk. The boy's vital signs were strong, but he couldn't breathe on his own at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, his father said.

Trace's mother, 30-year-old Jodie Guthrie, was sitting outside a drugstore Wednesday afternoon when an elderly driver trying to park jumped a curb and pinned her against the wall, police said.

"Whenever she got struck by the car, the lack of oxygen that she lost, he also lost," George Weatherwalk said. "So they're saying they don't know whether anything is wrong with his brain."

Weatherwalk said doctors are keeping the boy's body temperature low in hopes of preventing or limiting any brain damage.

Police Cmdr. RaShall Brackney said investigators believe the 88-year-old driver, Allen Massie, may have mistakenly hit the gas while parking, causing his car to jump the curb and pin Guthrie. Massie didn't appear to understand witnesses who tried to get him to back up, possibly because he couldn't see Guthrie, Brackney said.

Police said the accident remains under investigation and a decision on whether to charge Massie will be up to the district attorney.

Driving records aren't public in Pennsylvania, but online court records don't list citations against Massie in Allegheny County or elsewhere in the state. He doesn't have a listed telephone number.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation doesn't have specific requirements for elderly drivers to maintain their licenses.

The state does have a "mature driver re-examination program," which it says is designed to ensure that older drivers are safe. Under that program, 1,900 drivers over 45 are picked randomly and required to have an eye exam and a physical. Any drivers with physical or vision problems that could affect their ability to drive could be required to pass writing and driving skills tests to keep their license.

Other states with large numbers of older drivers, like Florida and California, work in conjunction with insurance companies and other groups, like AARP, to educate older drivers and help them not lose their driving privileges.

In Florida, drivers 55 and older can take a six-hour accident prevention course. Drivers who complete it are entitled to a mandatory 10 percent discount on their auto insurance, according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles website tells drivers, "Your mental and/or physical condition or your inability to follow traffic laws and rules regardless of age determines whether your license is renewed, restricted, suspended, or revoked." California requires drivers 70 and older to renew their licenses in person, however, and not through the mail.