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Two people hit by car, injured at ATM in Boynton Beach; woman's leg amputated

Posted at 1:23 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 19:26:10-04

Two people were hit and critically injured by a car while at an ATM at the Bank of America at Hypoluxo Road and Congress Avenue.

"Two people were just hit by a car," a caller told a 911 operator.

The incident happened around 1 p.m.

"Oh my god," the 911 caller said. "One of her legs is bent backward.”

According to the Boynton Beach Police, an 81-year-old woman identified as Louise Szakacs was pulling her silver Toyota Camry into a parking space at the bank when the vehicle went over the cement parking stop.

 

Diane Power, 63, and her son Thomas Power, 32, were at the ATM directly in front of the parking space.

The car struck Diane Power, pinning her against the wall. Her son tried to run to an adjacent flower bed but was pinned under the vehicle after it bounced off the wall of the bank.

Both Power and her son were taken to Delray Trauma Center with critical injuries. One of Diane Power's legs was amputated.

Thomas Power suffered a broken leg and arm.

Witness Kristle Mounds said her son was getting out of the car to go to the ATM when they heard a scream and a big boom. 

"As he was getting out, we heard a scream, a big boom. We got out of the car and we looked back and we heard the lady saying, 'help me, help me, help me.'"

"Me and my son we were just shocked," Mounds said. "I didn't know what to do. I just started screaming. Everybody was standing out looking at her."

Louise Szakacs was cited for careless driving. She could not advise investigators as to what happened to cause the crash.

Police ticketed Szakacs at the end of April for not stopping at a stop sign.

State records show her license is up for renewal next year.

In 2010, she passed a vision test with corrective lenses.

Diane Power's daughter said she's not angry at Szakacs. She blames society for not better regulating elderly drivers. She plans to fight to get state laws changed. She said she'd like to see senior citizens have to take a driving test yearly.

According to AAA, senior citizens are four times more likely to get into a car accident.

"Most drivers actually underestimate their level of risk while driving," said Wayne Kisner, of AAA Palm Beach Gardens.

Florida laws dictate anyone older than 80 renew their license every six years instead of the usual eight and pass an eye exam.

Kisner teaches a drivers education class for senior citizens to help them get discounts on their car insurance and stay safer on the road.

“Things have changed a lot since folks started driving. Changes in their vision, in their cognitive skills and just the driving environment, such as distractions, have had a big impact on seniors," he said.

He said there are several signs families can look out for that show their older relative may not be able to drive as safely as before.

"They could be going from lane to lane. Maybe failing to stop at a stoplight," he said. "Typically not speeding, but some of those other things that could indicate that they may not be aware of everything that’s happening around them.”

He said the safer solution could potentially be to find another mode of transportation.

“Many of the people that I encounter tell me they really only use their cars to go to Publix or the doctor, so it’s really easy for them to transition if you give them tools," Kisner said.