Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Runaway Mother-in-Law (1961)

(This story was originally written and recorded for Podcast #66, released on September 22, 2013.)

On January 4, 1961, 69-year-old Frank Hill stopped his car in Philadephia, Pennsylvania to let his mother-in-law, 85-year-old Nettie Saxon, out of the vehicle.

Upon opening his door, her hat was grabbed by the wind and blew away.  Frank ran down the street after the hat, leaving his car engine running.

Mrs. Saxon slid across the seat to help him get the hat, but in doing so accidentally pressed the gas pedal.  The car jumped the curb and raked along a number of storefronts.  In doing so, a 66-year-old pedestrian named Frank Curtis was thrown through a large store window.  

The car came to a rest after traveling about 150 feet (50 meters).  Mrs. Saxon, who had never learned to drive, was shaken up by the whole incident. 

The crash victim, Frank Curtis, was taken to the hospital, treated for cuts to his hands and scalp, and then released. 

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