Editor, Times-Union:
For well over 40 years I have struggled with anger and a thirst for revenge for myself and for the innocent victims of crimes or acts of total stupidity.
This past week a very lovely young lady died a senseless and inexcusable death in an incident which the local news called an “accident,” but I say it was a “criminal act.”
A 29-year-old male with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit and also juiced up with heroin was driving a vehicle (despite having his license suspended and not for the first time at that) at a reckless pace and manner weaving in and out of traffic on a county road until his vehicle crossed the center line, truck a car and left the driver dead.
The drunk had two passengers in his vehicle, both of whom shouted for him to slow down or stop. He did not listen.
Killed in the wreck was a beautiful girl, just turned 18 a couple of weeks back. She also had just graduated from high school, and was looking forward to starting college this fall.
I did not know this girl, but over 40-plus years time I have read ungodly numbers of accounts of murders, abductions, sexual assaults, drunk or drugged-up driving incidents to where people of all ages died terrible, violent deaths and it tears away at my soul.
How can anyone, any single person, be so stupid, pathetic and cold-blooded as to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they are too messed up to drive?
We all know individuals who do get into a car drunk or buzzed out of their senses and they have this completely stupid mindset, a sort of demonic “Rain Man” attitude (“I’m an excellent driver!”) and these types of idiots are so full of themselves that they are convinced that they are beyond the capacities of normal people. That is, until they kill some poor soul who had the misfortune to cross their path.
In my opinion, the law failed this girl. The driver had his license suspended, but his vehicle should have been taken from him, too. Perhaps if these idiot legislators, judges, prosecutors and police had all worked to seek a law that would strip those convicted of DUI offenses of both their driver’s license and their vehicles tragedies such as this would be less likely to occur.
The defendant was being held on a bond of $250,000. If he were my son, brother, dad or friend, I would not give 1 cent to get him out of jail. Any person who pays a bond for a loser like this deserves it if they lose every penney and/or possession they have got.
Drunk and or drugged drivers who kill are murderers. Make no mistake. They know, right to the core of their souls, that driving while using alcohol or other substances is potentially dangerous. They just don’t care and in my mind that adds up to depraved indifference toward the lives, health and well-being of others.
Anyone, including judges, prosecutors or even police officers, who feels that such actions do not warrant more serious consequences (including tougher laws, longer sentences or even capital punishment) is out of touch with reality and should be made to attend a host of autopsies, funerals and burials until they get the message that, “It is our job to stop this madness, now!”
Drunk drivers have been slapped on the wrist for too long. This must come to a halt. This evil must end.
William Gerald Smith
Lancaster, Pa.