August 1, 2014

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Police wait to charge elderly driver in high-speed crash

A North Ridgeville police officer recorded this vehicle traveling at 97 mph before it rear-ended another vehicle on Route 83. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

A North Ridgeville police officer recorded this vehicle traveling at 97 mph before it rear-ended another vehicle on Route 83. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Police said Monday they will weigh any charges against an 88-year-old driver against the man’s recovery following a crash last week in which he was speeding at nearly 100 mph when he rear-ended a car.

Frank Cimino, an Avon resident, remained in critical condition Monday at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, said media spokesman Jonah Rosenblum.

Neither Cimino’s wife, Ruth, 75, nor Patricia Habenicht, 66, of North Ridgeville, who were also involved in the March 17 crash, were seriously injured.

“What happens will be determined by the man’s long-term situation and his being expected to make a full recovery,” police Capt. Marti Garrow said Monday.

Police said Cimino’s 2006 Buick Lucerne crashed into the rear of a 2013 Mazda CX-5 driven by Habenicht on Avon-Belden Road near Dorchester Avenue. The force of the collision flipped Habenicht’s vehicle end-over-end, while Cimino’s car traveled several hundred feet before stopping.

Police indicated a day after the crash that they believed Cimino had suffered some type of medical problem that led to the high-speed collision.

A North Ridgeville policeman driving north on state Route 83 clocked Cimino’s vehicle traveling at 97 mph just before the crash.

Garrow cited privacy laws for not releasing any information related to Cimino’s health or medical condition at the time of the crash.

Garrow said police likely will push for Cimino to “get re-certified (re-tested) for his (driver’s) license” if he makes a full recovery and plans to continue driving.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • Carrie Watson

    Well, I’m glad to hear that they’re considering his age and his medical condition, and that they plan to re-certify him to drive. I’m also glad no one else was seriously injured or killed.

  • MattGurwell

    I do not know either of the families from this tragedy, but first and foremost I would like to extend my sincere condolences to everyone involved.

    As a retired Ohio State Trooper, I have personally delivered many death notifications to families of tragedies such as this. As a result of those experiences, in 2008 I founded Keeping Us Safe.

    Keeping Us Safe is a national organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families. “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families” serves as the foundation of our
    family-centered “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program.

    For families that might benefit from third-party, impartial intervention in resolving this very delicate and sensitive issue, we offer you our Certified “Beyond Driving with Dignity” professionals. These individuals have been specially trained and
    certified in the “Enhanced Self-Assessment Program” for older drivers.

    Our “Beyond Driving with Dignity” Professionals are deployed throughout the United States and Canada.

    Keeping Us Safe and the “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program have been recognized by the NY Times, the Kiplinger Retirement Report, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, NPR, The Huffington Post, and the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center.

    The “Beyond Driving with Dignity” program is designed to help older drivers with diminishing driving skills make a smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat without deterioration to their dignity, personal pride or independence.

    Our programs are designed to save lives while simultaneously helping to ease the burden of the family as they find themselves faced with this very challenging issue. I have said many times before that as the founder of Keeping Us Safe, I would much rather have these difficult conversations now, rather than having a State Trooper knocking on your front door tomorrow.

    For more information, visit Keeping Us Safe at http://www.keepingussafe.org or call us toll free at 877-907-8841.

    Again, my sincere and heartfelt condolences to everyone involved in this tragedy.

    Matt Gurwell
    Founder, Keeping Us Safe
    info@keepingussafe.org