In January, an 81-year-old woman was sentenced to ‘no jail time’ after she killed a 13-year-old boy and fled the scene in her car. Although her defense was that she was prescribed the wrong kind of medication (a muscle relaxer), I cannot get over the fact that this woman killed someone– left a family without their little boy– and she’s not serving time for it. She did get her license suspended for life and 5 years of probation and house arrest, and also has to pay the boy’s family a large sum of money for restitution, but still this just doesn’t seem fair to me. Why should she get off light because she’s older? Yes, she’s adorable, but not only did she hit this boy with her car, but she did not stop to help, and went to get repairs done a few days later (so she obviously knew something had happened).
If you want to read the story for yourself, here it is: http://fox8.com/2013/01/14/woman-81-gets-probation-in-deadly-hit-and-run/
I think the reason this story struck such a nerve with me is because I’ve had something like this happen in my life not too long ago.
Just over a year ago, as we were all saying hello to 2012, my grandmother was walking to her car in a Giant Eagle parking lot when an 80-something year-old man backed up and hit her. She fell down, of course, fractured her skull, and was in the hospital for MONTHS. I didn’t know what to do. I’d never been through an experience like that before. My family has always been happy, healthy, and steered clear of the hospital. But now, that had become our second home. For the first week, Grandma was in ICU, completely unresponsive. She was breathing, but besides that, we had no idea if she would be okay. When she started to open her eyes, she couldn’t talk much, and it didn’t seem like she recognized anyone.
I know so many families experience their loved ones suffering for Alzheimer’s, but I thought, “God, no. Please not Grandma. She is the sweetest, most out-going, and caring older person that I know. She loves shopping and being social with her friends. This can’t be happening.”
A few weeks later, Grandma made it to another hospital where she went through therapy everyday. Therapy to exercise both her physical and mental skills. She still didn’t seem back to normal though. She didn’t know where I went to college– and I had just graduated after being at Mount Union for three and half years, and she couldn’t remember the name of my boyfriend, who I had been dating for three years and she had met hundreds of times. Two of the most important things in my life, and Grandma’s memory of them wasn’t there.
I told myself to push those things out of my mind, because really, all I wanted for her was a recovery- a fast one, in which she could finally get out of the hospital and go home to my Grandpa, who was devastated over the situation as well.
As I said, a few months later, she finally went home but things weren’t “back to normal.” She had a physical therapist come to their house to work with her every few days and she had a ton of medications to take. To this day, things aren’t the same. There’s days she gets confused and she’s had so many random medical issues pop up since the accident.
How did this man that hit my grandma get punished? He didn’t. Or at least not to me- he was charged with some misdemeanor because she wasn’t killed. And the witnesses who said they saw my grandma get hit were thrown out because the police said, “From where they claim they were standing, they couldn’t have seen the accident happen.” WHAT?!?! Who would lie about that? What benefit would they get out of lying??? Ugh, that made me so mad.
Anyway, the point of this long, rambling rant of a blog post, is that people should be charged equally for their crimes committed. Period. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care what you were on when it happened. If you hit someone with your car, and a family was changed forever, you deserve the punishment. Thank God we still have my Grandma. I would have hunted down that old man and punished him myself had she not recovered.
Laws need to be changed. The elderly NEED to be re-tested for driving tests. Hell, we could all use a test every four years. There’s 30-year-olds out there that can’t drive. I propose that after your first license when you turn 16, a drivers test every other license. That’s every eight years. And, when you turn 65 (and are considered a senior citizen), you should be re-tested every 4 years. That wouldn’t be too much to ask, right?