Friday, January 05, 2007

Three lives taken, just nine years in jail (maybe)

Last week, I blogged about the criminal act perpetrated upon the St. Denise family of Pickering, Ontario. As you will recall, this family was on their way to Florida when a drunk in a pickup, driving the wrong way on I-99, killed Roger St. Denise, Paul St. Denise, and Angela St. Denise.

Jeremy Grimes, aged 23, was the driver of that pickup truck. His BAC was 0.21, which is more than twice the legal limit. In June 2005, he was charged with DUI and was placed in a probationary program for first time offenders.**

He has been charged with three counts of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence, which is a second degree felony. If convicted, he faces a mandatory miniumum sentence of three years for each count.

Nine years for killing three people? That's just not enough.

Last October, Martin Heidgen was convicted of depraved indifference second degree murder after a similar incident - driving the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway while drunk. He smashed into a limosine, which carried a family on the way home from a 4th of July wedding. The driver of the limosine, Stanley Rabinowitz, and the 7 year old flower girl, Katie Flynn, were killed. As I understand it, there is controversy and contention about several aspects of this convinction, including the position that the condition of "depraved indifference" does not apply when the defendent committed one's crime(s) in a state of inebriation. I beg to differ. When that first sip of that first drink is taken, while the car keys are still in one's pocket, one is, by definition, demonstrating depraved indifference.

In my view, anyone who consumes alcohol, in any amount, with the intent to drive afterwards, shows depraved indifference towards their fellow man. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Rot in hell, Jeremy.

**cough~bullshit~cough~translation:first time they got caught~cough**


Mossy Stone said...

It is a minimum there might be some hope that a) the judge will throw a large book at him, and b) that the lawmakers in Albany will revise the law and its punishments. ACLU be damned. ;-)

Rose said...

In this case, it would be Harrisburg. This raises the point that the laws governing DUI should be federal in origin.