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Thread: Driver killed two after he stopped epilepsy meds = murder convictions

  1. #1
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    Default Driver killed two after he stopped epilepsy meds = murder convictions


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    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for sharing this message. I don't understand why a person just can't admit that they have epilepsy instead of trying to hide the issue and take a persons life. I know
    I could never forgive myself if I ever did something like that. Wishing you well and May God Bless You!

    Sue

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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((Ted)))))) ~

    The article states that the driver's conviction was reduced from murder to manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 15 years.

    What the article doesn't state is why the driver stopped taking his seizure meds. Did he think he didn't need them any more? Did he have intolerable side effects? Is he not insured, and he can't afford them? Was he due for a drug test by his company or state licensing?

    The driver is 61 years old, driving a big rig. What I know about trucking (which isn't a lot), truck drivers often hide their medical conditions, so that they can keep working. They also ignore laws about the length of time they can drive without sleep, as sleep deprivation has caused many tragic truck accidents through the decades. It's a very strenuous occupation, with stress to deliver or not be paid. If he owns his rig, then he has insurance and maintenance expenses. If he works for a trucking company, then he has to meet that company's demands.

    Something must have factored into the decision to reduce his sentence to manslaughter, and I wonder if any of these could be among them.

    He will likely be eligible for parole in 7 years.

    Lots of medical conditions can cause an accident ~ a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke, diabetic reaction, sleep deprivation, epilepsy. Many people may not know that they are at risk for a heart attack or a PE or a stroke. But conditions, such as diabetes and epilepsy require that abundant caution is taken to prevent an accident. And in some cases, people with these conditions should not drive at all.

    I'm reminded of my elders, who didn't want to give up the keys to their cars, when they had assorted medical issues, which absolutely endangered them and others on the road. I had to scare them into giving up their keys, by asking them, "Do you want to be responsible for an accident, which might kill someone? Wipe out a family? Involve lots of cars and injuries?" That's when the keys were plopped, reluctantly, into my open hand.

    In this case, the driver is a senior, who is a few years away from retirement, and he probably didn't want to lose his means of earning a living. That is entirely different than a person, who consumes too much alcohol and then gets behind the wheel. Not every drunk driver is an alcoholic. Many of them just drank too much socially and made a stupid decision to drive, or weren't precluded from driving by more sober companions.

    If the truck driver went off of his meds for a reason, specifically retaining his livelihood, then he does deserve a certain amount of empathy. And if, in doing so, he realized that he could cause an accident by having a seizure, then he was irresponsible. I would think that a lower conviction of involuntary manslaughter would be more reasonable in his case, and likely carry a lesser sentence than he's currently been given.

    No matter which way we view it, it's a tragic situation all the way around.

    Prayers for the family of the victims, and for this truck driver.

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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    This dirtbag deserves no reduction in sentence. Here's an article with more information about the case. http://nypost.com/2009/11/19/judge-g...l-killer-life/

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  9. #5
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    My point is that those who kill/maim under DUI/DWI should be judged just as harshly.

    My wife was seizure free for the state prescribed time period, and thus eligible to drive. But, we elected to have her abandon any driving. Yes, we are fortunate in that we could pursue the non-driving option.

    We were also fortunate that we then could move from a suburban environment with nil public transportation to a more urban community with many facilities (post office, church, library, transportation, community provided van service to local practitioners and hospitals, etc.) nearby.

    Correct, not everyone has the the forgoing options.

    And, while I'm on the soap box, I have often challenged the concept that many seizures are the result of the individual abandoning or forgetting the medication regimen.

    Sadly, many herein, as well as my wife, have experienced break-through seizures with varying degrees of severity despite religious adherence to the proper mono or multi AED regimen.

    Yes, I also faced the driving issue with my dad (God rest his soul). He lived in Florida (alone after his wife passed) and one day, I realized that he needed to forgo driving. With some measure of trepidation I told him he had to surrender his car keys. And also fortuitously, he understood and I relocated him to a senior community in New Jersey.

    As women outnumbered men (for some reason) in the facility, he declined to socialized saying that he had two wonderful wives and did not need another. C'est la vie!


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  11. #6
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    ((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~

    Swanton Bomb, thanks for posting that link. I failed to read the first article you linked in your post, Ted.

    Obviously, this man didn't have a valid reason for not taking his Dilantin. He admitted that it interfered with his alcohol consumption. That is NOT a valid reason. That is a selfish reason, and it's his choice to make, as long as he doesn't get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

    Was the seizure he had, which caused the fatal accident, his first in 10 years of lying about his condition to his employer and not taking his meds? I doubt it. So he climbed into that truck every workday, knowing full well that he could have a seizure and cause an accident. Negligent. Reckless. Purposeful.

    He was handed the 20 to life sentence in 2009, a year after the accident. Upon appeal this year, his sentence was reduced to 15 years. I can't imagine a DUI double vehicular homicide sentence being reduce similarly, so I do think some judge showed leniency for him by granting his appeal.

    And perhaps his alcohol consumption impaired him neurologically as well. So, he has the double whammy of alcohol and epilepsy.

    Ted, in my experience, DUI vehicular homicide typically carries a heavy sentence, but in your neck of the woods, perhaps they are treated differently than this man was.

    In this man's case, he chose to forego his meds, which is not the same as breakthrough seizures for those who take their meds religiously (and we've experienced this many times with my sons). He was a professional commercial driver of a big rig, and he knew that he was risking an accident with that choice.

    With this information, it is far more difficult for me to conjure up empathy or sympathy for this man. I'm glad that I didn't have to serve on his jury.

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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    CDL regulations state you must be seizure free for 5 years and off meds for another 5 while remaining seizure free.

    I knew a driver who lost his Comm A license because of seizures. He's back on the road now after regaining control.

    Comm and medical never mix. DOT (well, the FAA branch) doesn't allow people to operate aircrafts who have epilepsy. One loophole for that is Light Sport if: 1. You have never had or applied for Private Pilots license, and 2. have a valid drivers license.

    interesting story.

    --Travis

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    Distinguished Community Member Jo6's Avatar
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    how awful----I haven't driven in about 5 years due to seizures. The first 2 or so years I was furious with Dr's. but as time has gone on I realize the danger and this article says it all. Had a friend to wreck and die coming home from work----she had a seizure--very sad. Have just resigned to the fact I will never drive again.

    Ken had just bought me a new car, I've never been under the wheel. That's ok--------I would die myself if I caused another person to die.

    take care everybody, Julia
    Did you ever know that you're my hero and every thing I would like to be I can fly higher than an eagle
    'cause you are the wind beneath my wings

    for my brother Ben

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