An 87-year-old Larkspur man on his way to the DMV Tuesday afternoon drove into a pedestrian/bicycle path and got stuck there for more than half an hour.

Raymond Pierce was not injured, but his Toyota stationwagon was wedged into the pathway so tightly that he could not back out or open his doors. He stayed in the car until a towing crew could yank the vehicle out.

"They should block that off, that passageway," Pierce said in a telephone interview later.

The incident occurred at about 12:20 p.m., when Pierce was driving on northbound Nellen Avenue in Corte Madera, the California Highway Patrol said. Pierce was trying to enter Highway 101, but "in his confusion" he drove into the bike and pedestrian path that runs along the west side of the freeway and goes over the Corte Madera Creek, said CHP Officer Eric Hohmeister.

Pierce kept driving north on the path at about 25 mph until the bridge walls narrowed to the point where he got stuck. One lane of the connector ramp from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to southbound Highway 101 was closed for about 35 minutes so the towing crew could extract the car.

"Pierce was issued a mandatory reevaluation on his license," Hohmeister said.

Pierce, who has a Kentfield address but said he lives in Larkspur limits, said his car had only minor damage and he was able to drive himself home. He said the incident occurred when he was on his way to the DMV office in Corte Madera to drop off the results of an eye exam. The DMV made him get tested when he tried to renew his license recently.


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Kevin Lent, a tow truck driver for Redhill Towing, was the one who got the assignment to extract Pierce's car. He said it was a simple matter of attaching hooks to the back end and pulling the car down to a wider part of the pathway. Lent also repaired a flat tire for Pierce, a AAA member.

Lent said that if there was a sign marking the pedestrian pathway, he didn't see it.

"People do all kinds of things with their cars and after a while you get used to people doing the unusual," said Lent, a San Rafael resident. "These things just happen."

Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com.