Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Double Tragedy in Cabot

Those who watch Vermont news no doubt heard of the death by hit-and-run driver of a 27-year-old Cabot man, Jason Bear, Sunday evening, left to die in a ditch along the side of Route 215. The tragedy was compounded when it was discovered that the person who hit this by all accounts sensitive young father of a five-year-old son was none other than his stepfather, a man my age, also of Cabot, William Luther.

I realized I was probably in the same store when the dead young man was looking at DVDs and was traveling along that same road myself that evening. I wish I had some sense of what had happened so I could have gotten this young man assistance since he may have lived for some time after he was hit.

Many locals have criticized Luther for the action - not just leaving the scene of an accident and not trying to get his stepson help - but also for trying to cover up his crime by damaging his Jeep by first running it into a cement buttress and then into trees before he arranged to have the vehicle towed some distance away. But I suspect this was just a very sad case of someone panicking and then, as a result, doing absolutely everything wrong. I doubt those who make such mistakes ever believe ahead of time they would be capable of going to such lengths but, in truth, tragically, it happens all the time.

The only part of this that angers me is that Luther, like so many others, used, "I was drinking" as an excuse for what happened. But drinking and driving is a conscious act, so when you drink alcohol (or take drugs) and then get behind the wheel, "I was drunk" simply is no excuse. It enrages me everytime I hear someone use drugs or alcohol as a defense against an act they commit.

Otherwise, however, this case just saddens me: one life destroyed, another well on its way to such, and the rest of the family and close friends left to grieve for what might have been if Luther had not been drinking or out driving, or if he'd sought help for Bear immediately.

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