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Emergency: Ideas Needed!!! - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
Emergency: Ideas Needed!!!
I have an 89-year-old second cousin named Harold, who lives in Richardson, TX (near Dallas), who loves to make great long cross-country driving trips. He's been making these trips every year-to-two-years for as long as I've been alive.   [Yes, this is the Harold that Angela and I filed a Missing Persons report on awhile back -- read on to find out where it turns out he'd been for a month...]

He's a sweet, lovably ornery old coot -- and as of the last few years, he's been a menace to everyone on the road.

On his LAST trip out to Oregon, he managed to rear-end a telephone pole (don't ask me how), and sideswipe... SOMETHING. Not sure what.

On this current trip of his, he's driven right off the end of a dead-end street and blown out both his front tires, and he's been pulled over THREE TIMES by the police, THAT WE KNOW OF, for driving 20 miles an hour on the freeway and weaving all over the road:

1) The L.A. police pulled him over, took away his car and put him in a mental institution for three weeks (don't look at me). When he was let out, he arranged to get his car back...

2) ...and then the L.A. police almost immediately pulled him over AGAIN for the same reason. This time, they convinced him to check into a retirement facility for a week -- but he was there "voluntarily", so off he went again...

3) On Wednesday, we got a call from the Medford police... A fireman had spotted Harold weaving all over, followed him, and had called the police. The cops gave us a choice. They could put Harold in jail, or they could take him to a Motel 6, if we promised to come get him the next day. Either way, they'd be towing his car.

So we spent all day yesterday driving down to Medford, picking up Harold, getting all his possessions transferred to our car, and bringing him back up to Albany. It was all we could do to persuade him to leave his car at the towing place, even temporarily.

[Harold is absolutely convinced that he is a safe driver, and all the police pulling him over are just picking on him. I've ridden in the car with Harold driving, years ago -- and even THEN, he was weaving across the lanes, straddling the striped line as often as not. We knew before he STARTED this trip that Harold was a danger to everyone on the road.]

The full-day round trip in the car has left Angela crippled with muscle tension, fibromyalgia pain and an associated migraine. Harold is busy trying to call anyone and everyone to find help getting his car back. He currently plans to take a bus down to Medford on Monday, pick up his car, and continue his trip as planned. (He wants to go to DENVER -- where the mountains are already icing up badly -- before heading home.)

If Harold gets back behind the wheel, SOMEONE is going to DIE -- and Angela and I are running out of ideas to try and stop him.

The Oregon DMV can't do anything to someone with an out-of-state license. The Oregon police have contacted the Texas DMV about getting them to require a retest and revoking his license when he fails -- but that will happen "at the speed of bureaucracy", and they can't do a THING until he's back in Texas. I've called the Texas DMV myself, and there's nothing they can do until they retest him.

Meanwhile, the local police can't hold him on any charge.

We've begged Harold to just leave the car (it's an old junker anyway, not worth anything), and take a plane flight home -- but he won't listen. We love the old coot and don't want to antagonize him, but we're running out of options.

Nobody seems to have any way to stop Harold from getting back behind the wheel on Monday, and Angela and I are freaking out.

Isn't there ANY WAY to do something before Harold kills anybody???

If anyone has any ideas, please reply here, or email me. It's looking like we only have Saturday and Sunday left to turn this thing around...

Thanks in advance...

Tags: ,
Current Emotional State: nervous desperate

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amaebi From: amaebi Date: October 21st, 2006 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Can't think of a thing besides involuntary commitment, which does not sound like a likely doer, or perhaps getting a judge's order. I have little idea how the former is done, and no diea about the latter.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 21st, 2006 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Cousin Harold

Don't know if you remember me (Carla Haller, now Ude) from UH...I was Rachal's suitemate...On Good Morning America this week they had a feature on this and I believe AAA or AARP had an online test that can be taken to show how well an individual can use the skills needed for driving (perception, short term memory, vision...). The man they interviewed was willing to recognize that if he failed that test he really needed to curb his driving (no pun intended). I'm sure for every one that admits to a problem, there are twenty that will say the computer test doesn't mean anything, but it may be worth a try.

Otherwise, I think you are stuck with the involuntary commitment route. From experience with my husband's grandfather, states aren't big on taking away licenses from the elderly, especially if they claim there is no one else around to help them. Also remember, the great state of Texas gave one of our mutual friends a driver's license even though she was legally blind (non-correctable), so being able to see the road isn't exactly a priority here.
krascal75 From: krascal75 Date: October 21st, 2006 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Not sure if this is even something to consider or not but here goes... It sounds like Harold is determined to take off in his beloved automobile. Is there any way to get him a paid companion to drive and help get Harold back to Texas in one piece? This would not solve the 'Harold can't drive any more' situation but perhaps someone in Texas- a friend or other family member perhaps- could get the wheels turning to get Harold's wheels taken for good.

I was lucky with my mom- now 87- she knew it was time to stop driving and so she gave her car to us and that was that.

Best of luck and good thoughts headed your way.
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