Letter to the Editor: Hit and run penalties too lenient

Published 9:20 am Thursday, May 27, 2021

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To the editor:

There are two laws that cover death by motor vehicle. One is a misdemeanor and the other is a Class H felony. The misdemeanor means you are involved in the unintentional killing of another human being. The other is hit and run, which is classified as a Class H felony. It carries a penalty of 4-25 months in prison.

I feel that anyone who hits someone and stops didn’t mean to hit them; however, when you hit and kill another human being and fail to stop, leaving a body in the street to die, and leaving the scene, you meant to kill the person because you ran and did not even call the police or ambulance. Perhaps a life would have been saved, but, the drivers who commit such an act cares less about their own actions, and even less about a human being he killed.

Even concerned people who accidentally hit animals have been known to stop, call the police and wait for them because they didn’t mean to hit the animal.

My son Brent Marshall was hit and killed on March 3. Brent was left lying on the road like an animal. The driver hit Brent and kept going. Excuse me if I am wrong, but every driver knows when you hit something in the road; especially when who or what you hit damages your car, common sense tells you to stop to see the damage. At least I know I did. It wasn’t too long ago when I hit a deer. I stopped and called the police.

Is a human life not more or just as valuable as an animal? When one person hits and kills another person and keeps on going, I believe they should go to prison. Why? Because they knew they hit a human beingand the the very act of running away from the incident leaving a person to die is inhumane to say the least. There is no way anyone can run over a human and not know it.

My son, Brent Marshall, was hit and left to die.

There ought to be aa stiffer penalty for such an act of violence. Anyone who does such a thing should be made to pay more than 4 to 25 months in jail or prison. It is not enought time.

When you take someone’s life and intentionally keep going, you leave the scene of an accident. You were criminally negligent, and you should pay the price for that.

To further frustrate matters, the man accused of hitting Brent was identified and found the following day. He was not arrested or drug tested. He was not taken directly to jail. Why?

The officials gave this man four days before they picked him up and charged him with anything. I guess we will never know (if he was intoxicated), because it took the officials that long to arrest him. To add insult to injury, when authorities finally arrested the driver they did so with minimal charges, set minimal bail and he was released in no time. Why is this type of injustice allowed to continue?

The suspect was rewarded with conversations, understanding, time and privilege. My son was not. If I had committed the same crime, I would have been picked up immediately and probably would still be incarcerated. If my son had committed this same crime, he would definitely be charged with vehicular homicide, locked up likely without bail. No, my son was not necessarily a pillar of the community, but he was a human being. He would never hit anyone, keep going and leave them in the street to die.

Honestly, I feel that anytime you hit someone with your vehicle and leave without calling the police, you need to be sentenced to at least 10 to 20 years. For me, that would bring satisfaction.

I have a lot of grief in my heart right now. And I don’t know when I will get passed it. Brent Marshall was my only living child left. Brent is not coming back, but, he did not deserve to die this way.

I pray for real justice someday.

Kathy Walker