and the penalty is …

I got a call from the Redmond Police Department this afternoon.  It was from the officer that came to the scene of the accident, and saw me just after the moment of impact.

him : can I speak to Paul David please?

me : speaking

him : wow – you’re really speaking!  That’s amazing.

How true!

The officer was calling to let us know about the prosecution of the driver on possible felony charges because his bloodwork had revealed the presence of illegal drugs.  After conferring with the prosecutor, they determined that since the substance was metabolized THC (the psychotropic agent in marijuana, possibly aged after being in the body for a time), they are unlikely to pursue felony charges against him.

Interesting, and not terribly surprising.  Presuming that the substance was likely to have been in the drivers past rather than part of his morning driving routine, I can completely understand their decision.

The disappointing thing is that the misdemeanor charges of negligent driving and uninsured motorist evaluates to a probable $500 fine and that’s about it.  Yes – you read this correctly

We’d be invited to testify if the man was foolish enough to challenge these charges, but he would be a fool to do that.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wish no malice on the driver.  I just wish that there were some aftereffect on him that is likely to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  My mom suggested 10 hours of community service with brain injury patients, which is a splendid idea.

Just consider for a second what it would mean to someone who doesn’t have the excellent medical coverage I do to face hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs (that’s what my insurance has already paid).  I’ll miss months of work.  Most importantly. I’ve missed being a happy dad to my kids for the better part of the summer.  I’ll never get that back!

So – yes – it seems a shame that the law doesn’t (inexpensively and efficiently) enforce one’s reticence to jerk the wheel hard right, into the bike lane.Working for a small number of hours with victims of like actions would seem a great way to discourage poor driving choices.

I wonder whether we can’t explore this possibility. 

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