One dead after car crashes into nursing home

June 25, 2011 6:05:09 PM PDT
There were some frayed nerves at a San Jose nursing home Saturday after a car crashed through the building.

One person died after a car slammed through the Amberwood Gardens senior home. The car ended up in the middle of the activities room.

The residents of the Amberwood Gardens home are elderly patients who have Alzheimer's and dementia. The patients were just beginning their seated fitness class at 9:45 a.m. Saturday when a 90-year-old visitor crashed into the room with her car. The driver was trying to park her car, but hit the accelerator instead.

"There was a lot of screaming and yelling because a lot of them didn't know what was going on," said staff activity lader Eric Chin.

Investigators found no obvious problems with the car. Several people were injured, including an 88-year-old woman with dementia who passed away from her injuries.

"I just talked to her yesterday, and I'm sure staff will be devastated," said former Amberwood Gardens director Steve Hooker.

One staffer was hurt and five others were injured. There was so much chaos during the incident that San Jose first responders called for backup. A total of six ambulances showed up.

Visiting family and friends were on edge when they found out what happened.

"Everybody told me to calm down," said caregiver Kim Rentie. "It wasn't that bad, but her wheelchair was demolished."

One woman, who didn't want to be identified, said her father wasn't in the activity room when the car crashed, but nonetheless she's now worried for his safety.

"They could've done a lot," the woman said. "Put barriers up...they shouldn't even have parking there at all."

But San Jose Fire Department Captain Mike van Elgort said the scene at the time wasn't unsafe.

"It just looked like it was a bizarre occurrence," said van Elgort. "I don't think there was anything wrong with the way the facility was set up. It was just one of those bad days unfortunately."

San Jose police say no charges will be filed against the driver. The senior home will have counselors on hand to help residents on Sunday.

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