A 99-year-old man killed two teenagers in a head-on crash by driving his RV at night without headlights on the wrong side of a Florida highway, investigators say — and records show he recently passed a re-examination in his home state of Michigan that allowed him to keep his driver’s license.
Michigan driving records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press show that someone reported Walter Roney to state motor vehicle officials in September, recommending the Dearborn resident be re-examined to determine whether he was still competent even though he had no recent accidents or tickets. He passed that test Jan. 8, 29 days before Tuesday night’s crash in Fort Pierce that killed Santia Feketa, 18, and Britney Poindexter, 17. The best friends were on their way to a skating rink. According to Michigan officials, drivers who are re-examined may be required to pass a driving test and tests of their vision, road sign and law knowledge to keep their license. They can also have restrictions such as a ban on night-time driving implemented.
According to Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alvaro Feola, Roney and his 75-year-old girlfriend, Carolyn Elizabeth-Evans Bruns of Brighton, Michigan, were driving Tuesday from Melbourne on Florida’s Atlantic coast, where property records show Roney owns a condo. They were headed to Port Charlotte on the state’s Gulf Coast to have interior electrical issues with their RV repaired, Feola said. They exited Interstate 95 in Fort Pierce shortly before 7 p.m., with Roney taking over the driving from Bruns.
Somehow, Feola said, Roney headed west in the eastbound lanes of Florida 70, a four-lane highway that crosses the state. Feola said it does not appear the RV’s headlights were turned on, although Bruns told investigators they had been working when she was driving. Feketa was driving east in her 2013 Chevrolet Silverado with Poindexter in the passenger seat when Roney’s RV smashed into them. TCPalm reports Feketa had taken classes at the local community college before graduating from high school in June, and was already a college junior working toward becoming a kindergarten teacher.