DENVER -- Tavern owner Linda Sajero is a friendly, good-natured woman who wouldn't intentionally hurt a fly. But you'd better run for your life if you see her behind the wheel -- because she holds the dubious title of "World's Worst Driver!"
Since getting her driver's license 38 years ago, easy going Linda, 55, has been involved in 117 accidents, and run over 18 dogs, 11 cats and nine deer.
She's also owned and demolished 41 cars and caused more than $367,000 worth of property damage.
Even those closest to her wish she'd give up driving.
Tom, her hubby of 36 years, says, "I love my wife very much, but when she's got the car keys in her hand, anywhere she is should be considered a disaster area. And I have no idea why.
"She never drives drunk, never drives short on sleep, always makes sure her car's engine is in good working order. But she's like a magnet that attracts accidents."
In her long and checkered driving career, Linda has:
(1) Driven a straight-as-an-arrow two-mile stretch of barren highway and managed to run headlong into the only tree at the side of the road, totaling her car.
(2) Backed out of her driveway at 45 m.p.h. and hit three stray dogs at the same time. (3) Literally driven all the way through her home -- accidentally smashing into the front of the house, then careening through the living-dining room area and kitchen and emerging through the back wall, ending up in her backyard.
(4) Driven over a 304 foot cliff in the Rockies and landed right on top of a deer Linda walked away with minor injuries. The deer wasn't so lucky. It was killed instantly.
(5) Swerved to avoid hitting a rattlesnake -- and hit a cat.
So why does this obvious menace still have her driver's license?
Most of Linda's accidents have involved no other drivers or pedestrians. As a result, she's had surprisingly few traffic tickets.
Tom and Linda's little mom and-pop bar barely makes a profit. Fortunately, Tom's father left him a considerable sum of money and he has invested it well.
Unfortunately, however he's had to use almost every available dollar of the interest to cover the damage caused by his wife -- desperately trying to keep insurance companies out of it.
"It's not the life I dreamed of," Tom says with a sigh. "I thought I'd be able to sell the tavern years ago and live the easy life. As it is, we need the income from the bar to live on.
"But what can I do? I love her and I promised to take care of her. And that's what I do."
Linda says she feels bad about running the family bank account into the red -- but not bad enough to stop driving. She says she just can't give up her independence.
"Believe me, I wish I could get this driving thing right," she says.
"It's been forever since I've driven a car without dents and dings.
"But I keep thinking if I just keep practicing, someday I'll be able to drive like a normal person."
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