Checker fans were all alarmed by the report on November 11th that  a 67-year-old man died in a single-car crash near Northgate Mall.

According to the Seattle Times authorities reported. “The car apparently struck a tree around 9:30 a.m. at Northeast Northgate Way and Third Avenue Northeast, killing the driver.  Police said, the circumstances that led to the crash remain unclear.”

We recently learned from the driver’s daughter Kaela Petkovitis more information regarding the passing of her father Richard Petkovitis.  About her father Kaela shared:

“My father ran a cab business in Seattle Washington for many years under the names “Classic Cab” and “Queen City Cab”. This was the last remaining checker from his fleet and he used it as a daily driver for 30 years. I grew up in this car. Unfortunately he took it to the grave with him, but honestly I don’t think he would have wanted it any other way.”


Promotional Photo for Classic Cab

Regarding the accident Kaela noted:

“Believe it or not, there is no solid evidence of what exactly led up to the accident. Witnesses said he was going about 35 mph’s when he lost control and hit the tree.


Richard’s Checker took a hard hit into a tree

Autopsy showed no evidence of stroke, seizure or heart attack. My father did have some health issues though. Suicide is unlikely because he left many appliances on back home and had a full calendar.

He coincidentally had his checker inspected the day before and there wasn’t anything significant wrong with the vehicle. I do wish I knew more. It’s evident that his chest hit the steering column so hard that the wheel inverted. He was not wearing a seatbelt. He had many broken ribs, punctured lungs as well as broken arms and legs.”


Lap belts may have protected Mr. Petkovits from the hard hit to the steering wheel

Perhaps we can all learn from this unfortunate accident, many Checker owners don’t where seat belts in their Checkers, this incident causes great pause for many of us to retrofit belts in our Checkers.

According to the CDC Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-54 in the U.S. For adults and older children seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet millions do not buckle up on every trip


Chrome Lift Lever Belts

For more information regarding retrofitting Checkers with seatbelts please check out the Wesco Performance web site

Chrome lift lever seat belts are the most authentic belts typically found in cars produced prior to 1965

As an act of solidarity among Checker owners, lets make our best efforts to wear belts.  The Internet Checker Taxicab Archive offers our sincere condolences to the Kaela and the Petkovitis family.

For more information regarding the largest Checker Car Club in world check our a Facebook page