Nothing can bring back a loved one who has been killed in a senseless automobile accident, or taken by a bullet from a criminal’s gun. As a Maryland personal injury attorney, I’ve seen first-hand the torment that victim’s families experience in the wake of an untimely death. Whether caused by the negligence of a passenger car driver, the operator of an 18-wheeler, or a seasoned criminal, the anger and pain seems to never quite go away.
For the victims of fatal motorcycle accidents, their families are always left wondering what if. What if he didn’t go for a ride that afternoon? What if he stayed the night instead of heading home after dark? What if it was someone else behind the wheel of the car who hit him? None of these questions can be answered to anyone’s satisfaction. But still the second-guessing continues.
Not long ago eight victims of violent crime and motor vehicle accidents met in Baltimore to share their stories of grief and frustration with each other and cities officials. According to one report, the group included residents of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford, Cecil and Howard counties. Families and victims alike told their stories in front of a panel at Long Reach High School. It was the second of several such regional meetings being held statewide.
Based on the news article, one couple recounted the death of their son who was killed in a fatal car-motorcycle accident in Ellicott City by a drunk driver. According to reports, James and Joan Sullivan have since relocated to West Virginia, but they drive four hours to be at the forum.
According to the husband, their 42-year-old son Jay was thrown 100 feet from his motorcycle after being struck by a passenger vehicle at St. John’s Lane and US 40. The Sullivans blamed a number of careless and insensitive errors that reportedly occurred following their son’s tragic death. Because of a reported technicality, the parents said the motorist was never charged in their son’s death despite the fact that she was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident.
Some of the mistakes, said Sullivan, included them finding out that Jay’s body had been taken to an organ donor center even though he never registered as a donor. Further errors included the hospital listing three separate times of death for their deceased son, and the hospital staff’s transporting the lifeless corpse down to radiology for an X-ray.
According to the news, the drunk driver only received a ticket for negligent driving, despite Sullivan’s alleged claims that she had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.29 percent — three times Maryland’s legal limit for DUI. However, because the woman paid the traffic ticket, the state’s attorney’s office told the Sullivans that she couldn’t be charged with anything else in the incident.
Representatives on the panel included Baltimore State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon and Howard County State’s Attorney Dario Broccolino; as well as six other officials from state and local government.
Crime victims share stories of grief, frustration with legal system, BaltimoreSun.com, August 26, 2010