LESS OF AN OUTRAGE! “Vehicular Manslaughter” Mom Gets Probation

Hi Folks — Here’s good news. The Atlanta mom who was convicted of “vehicular manslaughter” after her 4-year-old wriggled away from her and was killed by a drunk driver, does not have to do jail time. While she could have been sent away for three years, she will instead do a year of probation and perform 40 hours of community service. She also has been offered the option of another trial.

The driver, meantime, already did six months in jail and was released in October. He will serve  the remained of his five-year sentence on probation, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Here’s my original post on the topic. The case ended up getting a lot of attention — including on The Today Show — and over 100,000 folks signed a petition asking the powers that be to throw out the mom’s conviction and install a crosswalk instead. Whether or not the judge, Katherine Tanksley, was moved by the furor, she showed compassion and common sense.

That’s what we want from all our judges. Now let’s hope Atlanta builds that crosswalk.  – Lenore

59 Responses

  1. I’m still scratching my head over the probation thing, but overall I’m glad it ended as peacefully as it did.

    The law should not be protecting us from freak misfortuene.

  2. I hope the community service takes into consideration the life circumstances that lead to this tragedy in the first place. If she has to miss work and take a 2 hour bus trip and cross 5 lanes of traffic to get to the place of service.

    And yes I hope they build a crosswalk there. But my fear is that they’ll build one with great fanfare. And name it for her son. And then forget about every other place where non-motorists have to take unreasonable risks just to get where they need to go.

  3. I am very glad that the sentence of jail time was thrown out. The probation and community service is still a bit strong for my liking, but a lot better.

    I do, however, disapprove of the use of “killed by a drunk driver”. It was dark, and the kid suddenly darted out into traffic from a place where pedestrians really shouldn’t have been. There is really no evidence at all that alcohol was actually a contributing factor to the accident. There’s not even evidence that the driver WAS over the legal limit at that time. This could certainly have happened to a sober driver – it could have happened to me.

  4. Well-said, Rich.

    With all due respect, I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable walking on a crosswalk glorifying a drunk-driver accident.

  5. Sera, I believe we posted at the same time, but that’s an excellent point. It’s not always the “evil drunk/hungover/high sinner” who accidentally hits a pedestrian.

  6. With all due respect, I know I’m not comfortable with ‘drunk-driver’ paired with ‘accident’. Unintended, yes. But also preventable. People don’t accidentally get drunk or accidentally drive.

  7. Maybe we should stop calling it a drunk driver anything since he was not convicted of drunk driving.

  8. “Police were able to track down the driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted he had been drinking and had taken painkillers the night of the accident. He was also mostly blind in one eye. Guy had already been convicted of two prior hit-and-runs.”

    I am actually quite against the direction of DUI laws in this country, but this case is not one of the gray ones. He not only took painkillers and drank, he had plenty of first hand knowledge of the dangers given his previous convictions.

    Cant agree more that this is one of those situations where the judge did the right thing. Its exactly why we need less mandatory sentencing in this country.

  9. @Rich Wilson, they’ll forget about every other place that needs a crosswalk/sidewalk until another child dies. Those lines on the ground aren’t paint, they’re blood.

  10. (1) I believe the tragedy took place in suburban Cobb County, rather than in Atlanta itself.

    (2) For the mother’s 40 hours community service, they should allow her to

    (a) ride with a highway engineer in Cobb County as they pick out sites that need crosswalks, or

    (b) help a road crew set up and/or maintain crosswalks, starting with one at the scene of her fatal accident.

  11. Glad she got off a little bit, but honestly she needs a retrial. She did not commit any crime. She made a mistake and maybe did not use the best judgment but if we prosecute every parent that makes mistakes than courts are going to be VERY tied up.

  12. “he had plenty of first hand knowledge of the dangers given his previous convictions.”

    His prior convictions were for hit-and-run, not DUI. He should have known better than to hit-and-run but I haven’t seen anything to say that he had a prior DUI conviction. Nor does he have a conviction for DUI in this case. Apparently, the DA in Cobb County did think it was a gray area since he did not go forward on the charges.

  13. Wow, Dolly, your opinions have calmed a bit since your previous judgemental posts about this woman. And yes, I KNOW you said she shouldn’t have been charged. But you also said she needed parenting classes, among other negative comments.

  14. […] The rest is here: LESS OF AN OUTRAGE! “Vehicular Manslaughter” Mom Gets Probation […]

  15. Jaywalking is illegal and the woman endangered her children. I see this all the time now, even young children sans adults. I have actually had a couple of close calls. I wish the law was enforced; maybe a few citations would make people a little more aware, as well as raise revenue for all these cities crying poor.

  16. Donna: The driver was previously convicted of two hit-and-runs that occurred ON THE SAME DAY in 1997 — one of which occurred ON THE SAME ROAD where he struck the Nelson family.

    This is someone with a proven history of negligence behind the wheel, who is also presumably aware of the fact that he is legally blind in one eye. OK, so he doesn’t have a prior DUI conviction on his record. So what? He chose to consume multiple alcoholic beverages, take narcotic painkillers, and then get behind the wheel after dark.

  17. I am glad she is not going to jail. I still think she shouldn’t be prosecuted in anyway. She made a mistake and her child died. That is enough punishment and reminder not to jaywalk.

  18. Jane: She was not jaywalking. 1: there is no statute on jaywalking. 2: there is a statute on ‘virtual’ crosswalks, which exist at ALL intersections.

    The fact that the murderer admitted he drank and took pills that he shouldn’t have, and still got only 6 months just makes me angry.

  19. “He chose to consume multiple alcoholic beverages, take narcotic painkillers, and then get behind the wheel after dark.”

    And, yet, he was NOT convicted of DUI, meaning that this DUI was obviously not as cut and dry as the person I was responding to stated and you obviously believe. I’m not sure what what 2 hit-and-runs on one day 13 years ago really say about anything other than he runs from accidents and he really should stop doing that.

    And this child ran in front of him. The way many are talking, you’d think the driver ran up onto the median and hit the child. There is no indication as to whether this driver was driving negligently or not.

  20. Jane Howard, on July 27, 2011 at 05:37 said:
    Jaywalking is illegal and the woman endangered her children.

    ——–

    The laws where you are may be different where you are, but this woman was not – by the laws where she lived – committing any crime. A child can dart into traffic from any location, even a marked crosswalk. So the fact that she was in an unmarked crosswalk had nothing to do with the child’s death.

  21. Being blind in one eye has nothing to do with anything. I am essentially blind in one eye (I can only use one of them at a time) and although I can’t get a pilot’s license, I can, and do have a drivers license, and a spotless driving record.

  22. I’m glad she doesn’t have to do jail time. But really, she’s still being treated like a criminal. She shouldn’t even have to be on probation and doing community service. IMO, the court that convicted knew they were in the wrong, but they couldn’t just let her go after trying so hard to charge her. So they slapped the probey and comm service just so they can feel better about their bebacled ruling.

    @ Jane Howard: So you’ve never j-walked before, ran a yellow light, rolled on a stop sign, littered (even if its just a shell of sun flower seed), spit on the side walk or grass? If you have done even one of these, you are no better than any other law breaker out there. So should you be sent to jail? Hmmmm…exactly. And if you were in her shoes, where you had three kids, your house literally right across the street from you, your tired, your kids are cranky, would you really walk 4 big blocks up the street, cross the lights, then walk 4 big blocks again back to where you started except on the other side of the street? I didn’t think so. Just like the jury and the judge, thinking solely on emotion and not commons sense, you too are condemning this woman with little thought to facts, circumstance and common sense. What’s the ol saying? “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Meaning…unless you are a complete saint, and have never done anything wrong, STFU and don’t point fingers.

  23. Beth: My opinion has not really changed, perhaps I worded it better here. Did she make a mistake and use bad judgment? A good chance she did in numerous areas. Should she be charged for that in a court of law? No. Like I said, all parents make mistakes some worse than others, but if we take every parent to court that makes a mistake than the courts are going to be overloaded. Every time a child dies of SIDS because the parent put them on their tummy to sleep against the back to sleep campaign, that would be a court case. Every time a child chokes on a toy for kids over 3 that a parent gave to them when they were under three, another court case. Every time a child chokes on food not cut up enough, another court case. Every time a child falls down stairs because someone forgot to shut the stair gate, another court case. It is just not going to work and really it would not change much. Mistakes will still happen even if we did start prosecuting parents because we are human and because some people just are ditzy, clueless, busy, overwhelmed, etc.

    I forgot to buckle one of my kids up in the car seat once or twice. I am normally super super super good about it. But had they been hurt the one time I forgot, I do not deserve to be charged. I would only deserve to be charged if I never buckled them or purposefully did not buckle them.

  24. “(2) For the mother’s 40 hours community service, they should allow her to

    (a) ride with a highway engineer in Cobb County as they pick out sites that need crosswalks, or

    (b) help a road crew set up and/or maintain crosswalks, starting with one at the scene of her fatal accident.”

    Love it, Hugo!

  25. What I read said he 1) had consumed alcohol 2)consumed pain pills 3) he was found and arrested the day AFTER he hit and killed that child(thus, no DUII conviction) 4) he not only hit and killed that little boy, he also hit that boys sister and hurt her 5) he was convicted in the 90’s of felony hit and run after hitting and fleeing TWICE in the same day on a suspended license.
    According to witness accounts he turned on his brights and SPED up before hitting that family.
    Best of all, this man still has a valid drivers license. This all seems very fair. /sarcasm

  26. According to the link at the beginning of the story, she WAS granted a new trial, the date for which has not yet been set.

  27. Woo! I signed that petition and I’m glad the mom’s sentence has been reduced greatly.

  28. Thank goodness the judge has some sense.

    Right now I am on vacation at a ski resort (conference for my husband.) I am walking up the hill to go to the store, which, because I am carrying the food, I am limited to how much I can get at a time. I have to walk the other way to go to the condo laundry and take my kids to the pool. The road is narrow, no sidewalks, and the drivers all go too fast for my liking. This poor mother has been in my thoughts since I heard of her case, and more so this week as I do things that I don’t normally have to do. Her life is already so hard, there is no reason it should be made harder because of this horrible incident.

    And for the record, the only one who should be taking classes is the driver of the car. The only reason from the sounds of it that he did not get a DUI is because he fled the scene. He has a history of doing this, and I hope that he is now the one who is not allowed to drive and has to use the bus to get all the places he needs to go. But like many alcoholics (and I suspect that he is) he will find a car and drive it, as in the past, if it is legal for him or not.

  29. Funnily enough, Jane, there IS no law, in Georgia, about “jaywalking”. There ARE a few laws that regulate where you can cross the street… but it’s always legal to cross (as it seems to me that she was doing) at an unmarked intersection, and it’s often legal to cross in the middle of the street. (Just so long as it’s not between two traffic lights.)

    I actually looked this up after the first article. Here’s the most prominent link I found:

    http://peds.org/resources/pedestrian_right_of_way/

    It’s interesting to me, Jane, that many people are willing to say what is and isn’t legal, but they haven’t bothered to look it up.

  30. “he not only hit and killed that little boy, he also hit that boys sister and hurt her”

    He hit the boys mother (I think) and sister AFTER they chased after the boy in the road. He never left the roadway to my understanding.

    “he was convicted in the 90′s of felony hit and run after hitting and fleeing TWICE in the same day on a suspended license.”

    Yes, and keep in mind that could be something like bumping a car door. Hit-and-run doesn’t necessarily mean hitting a person.

    I’m not saying this guy is a saint. He fully deserves the 6 months in jail and I’d be perfectly happy if he permanently lost his license. But a kid, and then the kid’s entire family, ran out in front of HIM. His car was where it was supposed to be. The kid, not so much. We have absolutely no idea if he was over the legal limit for alcohol that night or not. Nor is it known if alcohol played any roll in this particular accident even if he was over the legal limit. A small child running out in front of your car at night is not something that even a teetotaler can always avoid hitting. There may really have been no bad guy in this situation – except the prosecutor and jury members who convicted the mother.

  31. I can’t see what this woman was guilty of enough to waste the county’s resources on a prosecution. If she was guilty of something, I think getting injured and the loss of her child more than covers any punishment. It’s a natural consequence. Prosecuting her adds insult to injury.

    I have only compassion for her. I grew up in Chicago with no car. We have terrific public transportation and we also have crowds, crime and extreme weather. As a child, I was terrified of getting separated from my parents. We had frequent lost mittens and umbrellas. It was really hard bring things home on the bus. I once saw a guy bring home a screen door for his house. When my kids were very little I was exhausted all the time. I’m so grateful I had a car and an attached garage.

    How hard that must be if that is the only way to get groceries home. I recently saw parts of the documentary called Food Deserts in a Land of Plenty, about areas in Illinois – rural and urban where healthy food is hard to get. http://growthemovie.com/ Lots of people have this challenge.

    I also worry about someone running out in front of my car.

  32. It is nice to see there is SOME justice. I would like to say that, if I were the woman, I’d stand up for what’s right and get a re-trial so that there would be TOTAL vindication, but I wouldn’t blame her for wanting to “cut her losses” and leave well enough alone.

    As I stated before, I completely agree with the woman. It is COMPLETELY ridiculous to expect someone to go 3/10ths of a mile (each direction) out of the way just to cross in a “proper” crosswalk when your destination is right there staring you in the face–especially if you’ve been dealing with a junky busing system. In my 10 years in Tucson AZ the great majority of the time I had a running car, but there were times I didn’t. It really is that much worse busing vs driving, and if you get an opportunity to just zip across the road to get home vs walking 6/10ths of a mile round-trip, you WILL do it. I was child-free at the time, I don’t doubt her situation was even worse. For the expectation to exist that she should’ve walked the extra distance with children in tow is totally ridiculous.

    LRH

  33. So glad things are looking up on this one.

  34. @Donna, he didn’t just “bump a car door” he rear ended a car and while fleeing from THAT scene he slammed into a car seriously injuring two people and fled.

    Yes, they got into HIS way by being in the road, I’m not angry that he hit them. That was an accident. I’m angry that he fled the scene. I’m angry that he admits to taking focus altering things. Maybe he wasn’t drunk, but if he was on pain pills he shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Since it’s noted, I’m guessing it wasn’t Tylenol. Narcotic pain medications affect your focus and reaction. Most have a warning label NOT to operate a vehicle while using them. Running should turn an accident into a more serious offense. Fleeing means you know you did something wrong(like drink and drive perhaps?) and are hoping not to get caught. That’s wrong. You made a choice, an accident happened, now take your licks like a man. If it’s really an accident nothing will happen to you. People only run when they’re in the wrong.

  35. Of course, the judgment includes providing child-care while mom serves the community service…doesn’t it?

  36. This case has been on my mind a lot of late, since I’ve just started working at a new office, and the bus I catch home is across a busy road with – you guessed it – no legal street crossing in sight. And we’re talking four-lane highway, of course. Awesome.

  37. Donna, your comment reminds me of a scenario here a while back where a man was lying passed out in the roadway at night, and a guy came along and ran over him and killed him. The driver was found to be DUI, so he was charged with some form of homicide.

    I’m not sure how it played out, but that struck me as ridiculous. A stone cold sober person is going to run over someone lying in the roadway at 4 a.m.

    So yeah, if the guy was DUI, throw the book at him for that. But he shouldn’t be punished for something that really didn’t result from the DUI, but would have resulted from the actions of the child no matter who the driver had been.

  38. I live in Cobb County on the other end of the county from where this took place. This was not in Atlanta but in the suburbs where it is expected that everyone will drive a car. The Cobb Community Transit is limited and the stops are far between. Also the streets and roads are not laid out in nice grids where a cross walk is half a block away so there can be long stretches of road with no cross walk.
    I can’t believe that this poor woman was charged with anything. Had it been me I would have taken the same risk. It’s very unfortunate that the impaired driver showed up at the same time.

  39. Same here. 2 hands, 3 kids, however many bags of groceries. 0.3 miles along the side of the highway, a wait at a crosswalk, and 0.3 miles back along the other side of the highway, vs. straight across the road right here right now–I would decide that the fewer steps my kids took in the presence of traffic, the better. Kids can dart into traffic at any time, sidewalk or no sidewalk. And a sidewalk is no protection from a drunk driver. She probably estimated the odds the same way and unfortunately lost.

    To reiterate: This driver was so out of it that when he saw pedestrians at the intersection, he decided that flashing his lights and GOING FASTER would be the correct response.

  40. I’m glad she can have a new trial, and no jail. It was ridiculous.

    As for “jaywalking”, once you live somewhere where the nearest marked crosswalk can be nearly a mile away, streets aren’t pedestrian friendly, and you have to find a way to get your errands done with kids, only then do I want to hear your opinion about it. I walk with my son to the grocery store every few days, and it’s pretty scary. There aren’t many walking friendly neighborhoods where I live, and none are affordable, so we do the best we can.

    As for the other driver, I can’t say that it was his fault, but if he really sped up, he should have his license revoked. Thats just stupid. Maybe it wasn’t a DUI, but if you have had a few drinks, you sure don’t speed up when you see people. How stupid. I understand why he ran, too. Thats probably what kept him from getting a DUI.

    Sometimes, there is no one to blame. That’s what accidents are.

  41. Google “Killed in Crosswalk” and read the stories.

    Every time you use a crosswalk, you put your life in the hands of others. You trust that all drivers are paying close attention to their driving and aren’t sleepy – are not texting – not talking on a cellphone – not distracted by somebody or something in their vehicle. You’re trusting they will all abide by traffic laws. You are trusting all vehicles have good brakes…

  42. Is it worth mentioning here that the only reason we even HAVE a law called “jaywalking” is at the behest of motor-manufacture lobbyists? It used to be that you would cross the street where it seemed safe, and it was UP TO THE DRIVERS to yield to you. In the attempt to turn the streets into car-only, go-as-fast-as-you-can-at-all-times funnels, lobbyists successfully played the fear-and-safety card and ruined streets for pedestrians, effectively also eroding communities. People need to look a little at their priorities from time to time, methinks.

  43. “To reiterate: This driver was so out of it that when he saw pedestrians at the intersection, he decided that flashing his lights and GOING FASTER would be the correct response.”

    We’re talking about a serious level of intoxication here. Perhaps if he hadn’t been drinking and taking painkillers he would have been able to avoid hitting that little boy — clearly, there was time to react, if he was able to make two adjustments before striking the child. Maybe when he hit the gas, he intended to slam on the brakes instead. We’ll never know.

    And neither will he.

  44. This is OT but I thought I’d bring it to Lenore’s attention. From a post at The Agitator titled “The Stupidity Continues” with the article here: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/07/perry_county_mother_charged_wi.html .

    As for the arguments that the “no one heard”: Rashomon.

  45. Pentamom,

    I was stone cold sober and almost ran over a guy who had passed out, half on the sidewalk and half on the road (the important half for life). If my wife hadn’t screamed, I would have run him over. As it was, I almost did.
    This “they did x, so therefore caused y” is such a logical fallacy. We, as a nation, are such a laughingstock in the Western world that it pains me. And I adjust for the usual European and British disdain of the “uncultured, ignorant Americans”. If you ever watch BBCA, you’ll realize the British are just as dumb; not to mention reading English translations of Das Spiegel, no braintrust there.

    However, on Free-Ranging, they are better.

  46. I apologize if someone already suggested this but I hope her community service involves helping city planners figure out a solution for others in the same situation.

  47. “I’m angry that he admits to taking focus altering things.”

    Yes, and how were the questions asked? We don’t know. Police usually say “Had you had anything to drink that night.” I had a glass of wine with dinner. If you asked me now 2 hours later if I had had anything to drink tonight my answer would be “yes” although I would blow a perfect .0 at any time I was in the car.

    “Maybe he wasn’t drunk, but if he was on pain pills he shouldn’t be behind the wheel.”

    Actually you ARE allowed to drive on many prescription pain killers. There is a different standard – a much higher standard – to prove that someone is DUI for drugs that he is legally prescribed. While they do label them to not drive and most doctors will tell you not to drive until you know how you react to the medication, many, many, many people in the world are on therapeutic levels of pain killers constantly for chronic conditions such as arthritis and legally drive. Do you know whether this man was a therapeutic pain killer user (likely a perfectly safe driver) or this was a one time thing for a acute injury (probably not a perfectly safe driver)?

    “Fleeing means you know you did something wrong(like drink and drive perhaps?) and are hoping not to get caught. ”

    There are many reasons that people flee from accidents. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they had some pot in the car and didn’t want to get caught with it. Maybe they freaked out when they realized they hit a kid. Maybe they didn’t have car insurance. This is a black man. Maybe he gets harassed by the police every time he is stopped and just flees to avoid them. A stupid decision but one that many of my clients make regularly. He should never have fled from the accident and deserves the penalty he received for that. But fleeing from the scene does not equal DUI. As a matter of fact, when I have a client who flees, I’m much more likely to think suspended license (which was not the case here) or drugs in the car.

    “This driver was so out of it that when he saw pedestrians at the intersection, he decided that flashing his lights and GOING FASTER would be the correct response.”

    Or maybe HE didn’t see the pedestrians in the roadway at all at the point that he flashed his lights (also a sign that there are cops down the road) and sped up. These impressions came from bystanders, not him. He didn’t say that he flashed his lights and sped up in some weird attempt to avoid hitting the child or that he ever saw the child before he hit him (and he supposedly admitted to all this alcohol and drug use so why not fess up totally). Since eye witness evidence is the absolute LEAST reliable evidence in any court case (although people tend to think it is the most reliable) and none of the people saying this were IN the car and knows what he saw and when, I certainly don’t take their statements as an indication that he was definitely drunk or that this was even what happened.

    He may have been drunk. Or maybe people just need someone to blame. It has to be the drunk driver. It has to be the mother. Anything other than bad luck because bad luck is scary.

  48. I can’t remember how many times my son slipped away from me when he was little. I might have turned my back on him when I reached into my car to get groceries or something. Kids will escape. Kids will explore. Fortunately he survived and I wasn’t turned into a fellon. There should have been no charges brought against this mother.

  49. @Donna, you made my point. You only flee when you’ve done something wrong.
    “There are many reasons that people flee from accidents. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they had some pot in the car and didn’t want to get caught with it. Maybe they freaked out when they realized they hit a kid. Maybe they didn’t have car insurance. This is a black man. Maybe he gets harassed by the police every time he is stopped and just flees to avoid them. A stupid decision but one that many of my clients make regularly. He should never have fled from the accident and deserves the penalty he received for that. But fleeing from the scene does not equal DUI. As a matter of fact, when I have a client who flees, I’m much more likely to think suspended license (which was not the case here) or drugs in the car.”
    In most of these, he shouldn’t have been driving. If he had pot, he uses pot, which affects your ability to react. In his prior hit and run he DID have a suspended license, which means it’s illegal for him to drive, which means if he HADN’T done something wrong, there would have been no accident. If he had not chosen to drive he couldn’t have hit those cars. Innocent people don’t flee. They’re doing something wrong.
    I DO believe accidents happen but I also believe that this man was not as “sharp” as he should have been. We’ll never know because he fled. If he hadn’t had a drink and popped some pain pills before driving maybe he would have been able to stop. That boy didn’t jump out when the car was mere inches away, there was enough time for his mom to go after him. It’s a straight away with lights, he should have at least had time to touch his brakes and he didn’t. Maybe he wasn’t intoxicated, maybe he was fiddling with his stereo, either way, I don’t think you can say “this is just a tragic accident”. I don’t think all pedestrian/vehicle accidents are the vehicles fault, I do believe that a some times it is an accident but not very often. When a car rear ends another it’s because they were following too close or not paying attention. There are few “true” accidents.

  50. “We’re talking about a serious level of intoxication here. Perhaps if he hadn’t been drinking and taking painkillers he would have been able to avoid hitting that little boy — clearly, there was time to react, if he was able to make two adjustments before striking the child. Maybe when he hit the gas, he intended to slam on the brakes instead. We’ll never know.”

    But the standard isn’t “if you’d done everything right, you might have been able to avoid this accident regardless of the fact that the other person was at fault.” If the other person acted at fault sufficiently to cause the accident, it is not your fault that you did not avoid it. In this case, sadly, a child running into the street was “at fault.” The pedestrian who runs into traffic is at fault, unless the driver is running a red light or something.

    IOW the child caused the accident. The fact that it might have been avoidable if the other person had been not merely sober but really on top of the situation with excellent reactions does not make it his fault that he did not.

  51. This story has been heavily covered in the “Streetsblog” websites, which are devoted to advocating non-automotive local travel, i.e., public transit, bicycling and walking.

  52. Donna, you made my point. You only flee when you’ve done something wrong.

    Not always. You could be a dumb kid who panics, or, for that matter, a dumb grown-up who panics. You could KNOW you’ve done nothing wrong, but be worried that the cops and the media will not take your side, and concerned that you’ll end up imprisoned for not doing anything wrong.

    Fleeing *is* doing something wrong, but it doesn’t always have to be caused by wrongdoing.

  53. I know I will probably be lambasted with hate comments after this but I just have to say one thing. Yes this was a tragic event and I feel terribly for this mothers pain in losing her child. But let me play devil’s advocate for a moment here.

    I have seen a few posts stating that this woman did not break any laws. Yes she did, she jaywalked. Yes it is a law that most of us, including myself break on a regular basis for the exact reasons she did, but it was a choice she made.

    I don’t think she deserved to have such a tragedy happen because of her choice, one she most likely made regularly, without consequence. And I most certainly think that the driver of the vehicle should be punished for drunk driving. There are many posts stating that it was unfair because of the choice she was forced to make. She wasn’t forced to do any such thing.

    Public transit in her area is obviously sub-par as is the availiable cross walks for pedestrians. I did note however that in the photograph I can’t see the cross walk that she would have used if she had made a different choice. It made me wonder just how far it was. I myself have walked great distances with my children and I have always chosen to use crosswalks as children are unpredictable. As a parent of two young children, I would never cross a four lane road at any other point but the cross walk.

    It is stated in the article that the traffic in the area was busy and people travelled well over the speed limit. She knew the risks and weighed the pro’s and cons. Once again I am not saying she should have lost a child due to her decision, but don’t make it out that she holds no fault in this. She chose to cross a busy four lane road with three children and shopping bags in hand, not a quiet suburban street or barely travelled country road. A feat that is hard enough without having to worry about the safety of a small boy.

  54. Watch out ifsogirl! I said something similar on the other thread about this and they jumped all over me.

  55. You are entitled to your own opinions (e.g. she made a bad decision to cross the road there). You are not entitled to your own facts. Crossing the road at that point is not illegal per se. What the jury felt that she did wrong was to take a legal action that put her children at unreasonable risk.

    Yes, jaywalking is illegal in some jurisdictions. Not there.

  56. ifsogirl, on July 29, 2011 at 13:09 said:
    I have seen a few posts stating that this woman did not break any laws. Yes she did, she jaywalked.

    ——————

    This is not correct. Many of us have actually researched the law in Cobb county where this occured. The law there is clear, and there is a fair bit of coverage on many other websites, and links to specific government websites in other posts on this website about the fact that where she crossed the road was a LEGAL crossing point.

    You can agree or disagree about it being a SAFE crossing point, but not about its legality. That is a matter of fact.

  57. Dolly, just to clarify, you were jumped on because you said that this woman should never have had even one kid when she could not afford a car to transport them, and that she had no right to live in a place where she could not walk safely with her children. You then suggested that she move, buy a clunker, and take parenting classes so that she could better cope with active children in her carless world. And then you ranted about how she should have used better birth control, had an abortion, or given her kid/kids up for adoption, her being an unfit mother and all, because she didn’t have a car.

    Any comment you made about jaywalking was irrelevant in terms of the other wackadoo things you said. Do you ever EVER listen to yourself? Wait…we know the answer. It’s a resounding “no”.

  58. Accidents happen. Who are we to judge? Negligence occured on both sides here. Its very tragic and unfortunate. But nobody can point a finger and say who deserves what here. Not until you’ve been in a situation that is similar, would you be able to determine what should be done. Cities also play a role as far as street conditions go and they often try to dismiss those factors. Horrible things happen in the real world. Punishment appointed to anyone involved in an unintentional accident doesn’t help or improve anything. Everybody is not perfect and most of us probably has at one or more times in their life made a careless mistake coming close to a tragic accident, consider yourselves lucky. Be grateful for life.

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