When Crime Pays

If crime pays, what does it pay with?

I just served as a juror in a vehicular manslaughter trial. Two vehicles, a white truck and a blue SUV, allegedly raced down a roadway known for speeding. So notorious is this road that it was used in the first Fast and Furious movie in 2001.

What started the race wasn’t proved in court. The defense tried weakly to state it was road rage. However, the defendant driving the white truck was drunk — way past California’s legal limit of .08%. In fact, his blood alcohol content was .18%. A forensic toxicologist proved on the stand this is equivalent to nine beers for a 220 pound man. By the way, it was 11:30 in the morning.

When the two vehicles crossed an intersection on a red light, a Lexus was about to turn into their lane. The blue SUV sped through but the white truck collided with the Lexus. He was going 100 mph at the point of impact, proven by a black box in the truck, which is similar to black boxes in airplanes. Five seconds before impact, the gas pedal was fully engaged and the brake pedal was not touched.

He didn’t just hit the Lexus, he almost split it in half. The front end of the Lexus was mutilated (so were the driver and front passenger), two people in the back required surgery, and a five-year-old boy was injured along with two dogs. The driver of the white truck survived even though he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Witnesses saw the blue SUV stop for a while then speed off. No one saw a license plate or a make or model of the car. The driver never turned himself in and no one ever caught him.

We, the jury, found the defendant guilty of two counts of vehicular manslaughter, four counts of great bodily injury, one count of bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, and driving under the influence.  

So while one driver paid for being incredibly stupid, the other got away scot-free. Crime paid him with his freedom.