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2 Kansas motorcyclists, Fort Riley soldiers, hurt in crash

At what age does a person stop driving? Renewing a driver's license after age 65 may include taking a vision or written test. As long as state driving requirements are met, elderly people can drive as long as they wish, even into advanced old age.

Driving privileges represent a freedom of movement that many elderly people refuse to forfeit. Noticeably delayed reaction time, low-speed driving on high-speed highways and "almost" accidents are signs of a negligent driver that cannot be ignored when someone is injured or killed.

A 93-year-old man was driving in Clay County on a recent Sunday afternoon. Just outside Wakefield along K-82, the elderly pickup driver decided to make a U-turn.

During the turn, the Ford truck struck a motorcycle operated by a Fort Riley staff sergeant. Another soldier was riding in tandem and struck the rear of the first bike.

The 27-year-old man on the lead motorcycle sustained severe head injuries and bone fractures. The soldier who was riding a Honda behind the victim suffered non-serious injuries. The 39-year-old man, also a Fort Riley staff sergeant, was released after treatment at a Junction City hospital.

Kansas Highway Patrol issued no citations to the uninjured truck driver. The accident investigation remains open.

The pickup driver may tell troopers that he didn't see the motorcycles. Investigators will have to determine whether the second half of that statement would be "I didn't remember to look to see whether any traffic was coming."

Investigators did not say whether criminal charges are under consideration, but liability claims for personal injury could be. The plaintiffs were harmed, one of them catastrophically. The expenses for medical care could be considerable. At least one of the soldiers may never be able to return to duty because of the crash.

A jury would have to be certain that the pickup driver was negligent before damages would be awarded for any reason.

Source: wibw.com, "Fort Riley Soldier Airlifted After Motorcycle Ax," Lindsey Rogers, April 15, 2013

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