This was a tough call all the way around.
Judge Duber’s words referring to the sentencing: “There needs to be perception by the public when they read that somebody who caused the death of two other people in a traffic accident that involved alcohol and one of those people was a child that person will go to jail no matter who they are, no matter what they have done, they will be held accountable ... It is not who you are, but what you did that makes you accountable.”
I think the pleas made in his behalf missed the point.
“Nothing that is decided today will bring Devin and Jeff back ... What positive can come from Sharrod going to jail? — this from a parent who pleaded guilty to child abuse ... for letting Devin ride in the vehicle without a seat belt.
“She is dead and he needs to be punished. He made the decision to place his own precious children and Devin in the cargo area” — this from the maternal grandmother of the child.
“I wake up every single day ... and I try to figure out a way to fix everything ...” — this from Sharrod Stone, driver of the vehicle.
A child of Stone’s told the court his father was a good man. Both Stone’s attorney and Frantzke said his children needed their father back as soon as possible.
Two people are dead. That child needed a responsible adult, Jeff Johnston, 55, needed common sense, the day they died.
The living will continue to suffer, the dead are beyond that. The adults, the parents, the fathers, chose not to behave in a responsible manner, for whatever reason, whatever excuse.
A painful decision for Judge Duber. A harsh lesson for those who don’t/won’t recognize that a vehicle with or without passengers, requires the driver to have an unimpaired ability to operate that vehicle.
Role models aren’t always what we expect. Sometimes, because they made irresponsible choices, they teach others in immeasurably painful ways.
C. Anne Boisvert