‘On Easter morning, 2011, the day began just like any other. I read the news and called my Dad to tell him about an accident I’d read about. I’m sorry to say that I’m horrible with names or I would have known, as I was telling him, that I was reading about the death of my cousin and her nineteen year old grandson.
While both were out delivering newspapers in Janesville, another driver was legally intoxicated by both alcohol and marijuana. He blew through a controlled intersection and into the van carrying my relatives. The grandson died nearly instantly and my cousin lived for several days, critically injured, in the hospital. In addition to the two, their dog had perished as well.
Severely injured, the driver at fault was taken to a hospital, from where he escaped. It was obvious he didn’t want to take responsibility for what he had done. He was caught and returned to the hospital and then sent to jail, awaiting trial. We’d lost family, but finally we thought that we would see justice.
Of the eleven counts the driver was charged with, nine were dropped in a plea agreement. The prosecutor is recommending no more than seven years incarceration for his taking of both lives. Seven years. There are people in prison for far less who will serve more time than him.
Look, I know the DUI laws in Wisconsin are a joke. This morning another man was arrested in Janesville for his fifth DUI. Fifth. How many lives were put at risk during the first four I wonder? It’s time we demand more from our legislators, prosecutors, and judicial system. Maybe we can’t bring back those we’ve lost, but perhaps we can prevent any further loss of life.
James A. Long