WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- One has to wonder when people use obvious bad judgement, often resulting in bodily harm or even death. Recently there have been three well publicized deaths of three people dying when their vehicles broke through the ice on Lake Minnetonka. Both were taking a shortcut across the lake and going through a channel where the ice was clearly marked by thin ice signs.
The first accident involved a 41 year old man and his family, when they plunged through the ice in a channel. They were driving on the ice at about 5 p.m. when their vehicle broke through the ice. The manís wife, 2 year old daughter and 8 month old daughter were with him. The man, his wife and 2 year old daughter were able to get out of the car, but efforts to get his 8 month old daughter were unsuccessful. The 8 month old was under water for at least 15 minutes before rescuers were able to get her out. The little girl was later pronounced dead.
More recently a 31 year old man and his 87 year old grandmother. The vehicle they were in went through the ice in a different channel between two bays into nine feet of water. The man called 911 as the car was sinking. Despite the fact rescuers were on the scene minutes after receiving the call, the pair were under water for nearly an hour. Both of them died as a result of the accident.
The sad thing about it, neither would have had to happen if good judgement had prevailed. No one will ever know just why the first victims decided to go onto the ice and disregard thin ice markers, but friends speculated the man was showing his grandmother how some of the fancy houses looked from the lake side.
On the other hand authorities found that the 41 year old man in the second incident had a .13 blood alcohol content, putting him well over the legal limit.
As a result he is being charged with vehicular homicide.
I was listening to a talk show host taking calls and texts from listeners, as to whether or not the man should be charged. Most said definitely yes, but some thought that the man will suffer enough having to live with that for the rest of his life.
I agree that the man will have to suffer the consequences of the loss of his child for the rest of his life. But I still think the man broke the law, and must face the courts in deciding his fate on the felony charge. Perhaps the courts will sympathize with him and just sentence him to community service, plus suspended jail time. I would somewhat agree with that decision. However I feel the community service should be in years rather than days or months. I feel the man should have to make a given number of appearances at high schools at programs sponsored by groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Make him tell the story how his poor choice caused him to lose something that was very dear to his heart.
Although one has to wonder why this man lied about how much he had to drink and refused a field sobriety test. Two hours passed before he submitted to a blood test in the hospital. Was he hoping his blood alcohol would be lower? Was he driving across the lake to reduce his chances of getting picked up by the police? Those are some of the questions a judge and jury will have to sort out.
As bad as these incidents are, there can be good that comes out of it. Perhaps this will keep others from making a bad choice that might endanger their life and the lives of others. The answer is simple ó please! Donít drink and drive!
Have a great week and do good!
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