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A Behind The Wheel Mishap Seriously Injures Elderly Woman

Jamestown, CA — A woman missed the brake, but hit the gas pedal and landed in her neighbor’s residence and was flown from the scene with serious injuries.

The CHP reports that 88-year-old Gina Vernazza of Jamestown was pulling into her drive way in a 2006 Ford at about 5 mph when instead of the brake she hit the gas. The vehicle proceeded to crash through a fence, down a dirt embankment and smashed into the rear of a mobile home on Johnny Drive.

Although the car’s airbags deployed, Vernazza was not wearing a seat belt and suffered major injuries. She was flown to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.  Sonora Unit CHP spokesperson Faustino Pulido warns, “Air bags are not designed to replace seat belts; they are to supplement lap and shoulder restraints to help limit head and chest injuries.  If a passenger or driver is not fully restrained, they may contact the air bag before it is fully inflated, and may sustain serious or fatal injuries.”

Pulido notes that CHP statistic show airbags do save lives, stating, “Fatal injuries have been reduced by 11% to drivers in an automobile collision in which an air bag has been deployed and hospital injury claims have been reduced by 24%.”