Man, 96, killed when car slams into La Jolla assisted living facility

Posted at 5:10 AM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 02:28:26-04

SAN DIEGO - A 96-year-old man was killed when a car smashed into a La Jolla assisted living facility overnight Monday. The driver was later arrested on manslaughter charges.

According to San Diego police, at around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, an Oldsmobile traveling west on Pearl Street, ran a stop sign, went off the road and smashed into the wall of a room at the White Sands La Jolla in the 7400 block of Olivetas Avenue. A 96-year-old man who was asleep in the room died at the scene. His name was not released.

The driver, later identified as 53-year-old Randy Gaster, was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. He was released from the hospital and immediately booked into the San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, driving on a suspended license and driving on a license suspended due to a prior DUI conviction.

He was being held on $25,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

He did not have his license on his person when the crash occurred, police said. 10News learned that Gaster had multiple driving offenses in Oregon and his license was revoked in 1990. According to the DMV, he has not had a license issued to him since 1989.

10News also learned Gaster has been accused of mail theft and forgery.

Police are unsure if he suffered a medical episode during the crash or if he was under the influence of intoxicants.

The crash also caused damaged to at least two other rooms. Three residents had to be moved.

The investigation is ongoing.

Ana Cleta, who has lived at the facility for three years, said, "I was told the driver is 53 years old and he had no driver's license … well, that's said. That's very sad."

"He was at peace sleeping and this happened … I'm a little sick to my stomach it could have been anyone of us that live down here," said resident Shirley Miller.

Meanwhile, some residents who live near Gaster in North Park told 10News that he was always pleasant during interactions and they never noticed anything unusual about him.