160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA MONICA: Panel says city where man drove into crowd can be taken to court. By The Associated Press Victims of a 2003 crash in which an elderly driver plowed into a crowded farmers market can sue the city of Santa Monica for failing to protect them, a state appeals court ruled. The ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeals reinstated allegations that the city failed to adequately shield shoppers from George Russell Weller, who was 86 years old when he crashed his car through wooden barricades and into the open-air market. The July 16, 2003, crash killed 10 people and injured more than 70. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Several dozen victims and relatives filed a personal injuries and wrongful death lawsuit against Santa Monica, alleging it failed to protect pedestrians. The city contends it was immune from liability because it had drawn up a traffic control map. A judge sided with the city, but the appeals panel reversed that judgment Oct.12. The court found there was “reasonable inference” that a sketch of the traffic control map was not the plan approved by the city’s traffic engineer in 1987. For that reason, the city’s “immunity defense should have been denied,” the panel wrote. “It was a terrible accident, a tragedy for the people who were injured,” said Jeanette Schachtner, Santa Monica deputy city attorney. “But the city … and the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for Mr. Weller’s acts.” In an interview with police after the crash, Weller said he did everything to try to stop, including putting the car’s gearshift knob into park. His lawyers argued it was a case of “pedal error,” in which Weller panicked and mistook the car’s accelerator for the brake. Weller was convicted last year of 10 counts of manslaughter.