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Woman, 85, Agrees to Fine in Fatal Crash

An 85-year-old widow whose car slammed through an elementary school cafeteria, killing an 8-year-old boy, pleaded guilty Thursday to a traffic citation, agreed to pay a $500 fine and gave up her driver's license.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An 85-year-old widow whose car slammed through an elementary school cafeteria, killing an 8-year-old boy, pleaded guilty Thursday to a traffic citation, agreed to pay a $500 fine and gave up her driver's license.

Grace Keim acknowledged she failed to reduce speed Jan. 29 before plowing through the school in the St. Louis suburb of Shiloh, killing second-grader Ryan Wesling and injuring two other students.

Prosecutors have said the accident was unintentional and they don't plan to file criminal charges against Keim.

Ryan's family is pressing a wrongful-death lawsuit against Keim.

When reached by telephone Thursday night at her Belleville home, Keim told a reporter, "No comment, sir. Sorry," then hung up.

Messages left with Keim's attorneys, the judge and prosecutor Robert Haida were not immediately returned after business hours.

Keim was en route to a driving class at a nearby senior citizen's center when she drove her 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier up a dead-end drive at Shiloh Elementary School, then tried to turn around. According to investigatory reports, Keim said she "panicked and felt disoriented," and her car "went crazy."

In his written order Thursday, county judge Heinz Rudolf noted that Keim "has relinquished her driver's license and agrees not to reinstate same." Keim also waived her right to a hearing over the secretary of state's authority to suspend or revoke her license, Rudolf wrote.