EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An 82-year-old man with dementia is in critical condition after a wrong-way crash on Long Island.
Police said Burgess Moore, of New Britain, Connecticut, was reported missing shortly before the wreck.
Late Tuesday night, investigators say he drove his Subaru Legacy north on the southbound lanes of the Wantagh State Parkway, crashing head-on into a Toyota Rav 4, driven by a 48-year-old man from Long Beach, police said.
A Saturn Vue, driven by a 20-year-old Levittown man, then struck the other two vehicles, police said.
Moore suffers from dementia, yet he has a valid driver’s license. Experts say it’s not that uncommon.
“There’s a provision within the Department of Motor Vehicles whereby a person can report a driver that they suspect of having diminished skills and abilities,” AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair said.
It’s a sensitive subject for families, but AAA studies show that when an elderly person begins to have major mishaps it’s time to initiate new eye, hearing, memory, and road tests. It’s something the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation is helping families cope with. Their social workers guide their members through big life changes, such as no more driving.
“We know that things can really happen in an instant,” LIAF Tori Cohen said. “Judgement and perception are very off when someone has Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”
Moore was rushed to Nassau University Medical Center with a broken hip and facial injuries.
The driver of the Toyota was also hospitalized with neck and back pain. The driver and a passenger of the Saturn were treated for minor injuries.
The parkway’s southbound lanes were closed between Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road for several hours but have since reopened.
State Police say no charges have yet been filed against Moore.