An Elderly Minnesota Couple Was Injured When A Vehicle Smashed Into Motel Room
Frank and Jacklyn Benninger both 77 years old was resting in bed when a truck struck the motel room they were in which is part of a 10-room motel in Detroit Lakes. The pickup drove off but witnesses were able to write down a description of the truck and get the license plate information.
A Detroit Lakes police officer saw the vehicle parked on the side of a street while on patrol. When he approached the vehicle he immediately smelled a strong odor of alcohol and the driver seemed confused and in a state of shock.
The driver is 53-year-old Wade Olds was arrested and taken to jail for criminal vehicular operation, great bodily harm, and being under influence of alcohol. He is also accused of failing to stop after a collision that caused injury or death.
According to the Duluth News Tribune (Paywall) "Interviewed at the Becker County Jail, Olds told an officer that he reached down for something and the next thing he knew he hit something, but didn't know what it was. He admitted he panicked and drove away. Olds admitted to drinking earlier in the day, and admitted there might be marijuana in his system, but denied using it on the day of the crash."
Both victims were transported to Essentia Health St. Mary’s in Detroit Lakes then were transferred to a Fargo hospital. Frank Benninger had his spleen removed, and has half a dozen broken ribs, and has three broken vertebrae in his back. Jacklyn Benninger had a severed spinal cord and has confirmed paralysis from the waist down. She also had a punctured lung, a punctured liver, and numerous fractured ribs.
The Benningers have been staying at the motel on a monthly basis since last autumn while waiting for an apartment unit to open up. Such a sad and tragic situation for this poor couple who just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.