The Florida woman who ran over and killed 3 people about two months ago had her license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000 by a judge last week. Although the maximum is usually a six-month license suspension, the judge could suspend it a year because fatalities were involved.

Doreene Landstra, 79, of Bradenton, pleaded no contest to improper backing. She accidentally backed her SUV into a group of people leaving a church service in the Sugar Creek Country Club. Killed were 80-year-old Johanna Dijkhoff, 72-year-old Margaret Vanderlaan and 70-year-old Wilhemina Paul, all of Bradenton. Watch the court appearance

This is a tough situation for all those involved. It no doubt has impacted an entire church community. The congregation is mourning for those they lost and many probably are also feeling some sorrow for the pain that Landstra will live with the rest of her life.

One of the victim’s family members said he forgives Landstra for the accident but that she should not be allowed to drive again. He said she’d have to live with her conscience. He hopes that will keep her from ever driving again.

It’s hard to know exactly what could have avoided this incident. Should Landstra have been driving? What was her driving record? What were the exact circumstances?

It’s a good time to think about the older people you know — should they be driving? Maybe it’s time to have a difficult discussion about handing over their car keys for good. Are there times when you could give an older family member or friend a ride rather than having them drive?

It’s also a lesson to all of us to be extra careful in parking lots. Watch for vehicles backing out of parking spots. Even if you think the driver sees you, wait until it’s safe to go behind them. It’s hard to predict what vehicles are going to do sometimes so be alert and exercise caution the best you can.

At Bernardo Injury Law, we have experience working with crashes involving pedestrians. We understand the difficulties injured victims and family members face. We may be able to help you. Contact us at (239) 332-3000 or toll free at 888-428-8943, email us at or visit our website at