Wednesday, February 20, 2008

If You're Going To Kill Someone Behind The Wheel, Make Sure You Come to Jamaica

You might have heard that a truck driver that had a seizure killed two British tourists in midtown the other day. The driver was (correctly) charged and is facing 30 years in prison for felony counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

What you might not remember is that we had some of that a little over a year ago (November 2006) right here in Queens.

Alexander Juwah also had a seizure while driving a minivan, but our guy killed THREE people when he blacked out. On Springfield Blvd that day, he ended the lives of Jesse Rutledge Sr., 80; Jesse Rutledge Jr., 47; and Zetteleen Smith, 24, all of Laurelton. Mr. Rutledge Sr. was a Korean War veteran, father of four, and grandfather of four. Junior was a school teacher before going to law school. Ms. Smith was an artist.

BUT although they fought for our country and taught our kids, they weren't British tourists, so their lives weren't as valuable.

Their killer, Mr. Juwah orginally wasn't charged for months. From the NY Post: Initially, police said Juwah would not be charged in the horrific accident because he had suffered a seizure.

After some pressure (or whatever passes for public pressure in an outer borough) - Mr. Juwah was charged in August of 2007 for "false statements to the Department of Motor Vehicles on a license-renewal form".

It is a misdemeanor and Mr. Juwah was released on $1500 bail. He faces up to four years, which means he probably won't do any time if the case is even still open. So let's do the math. For the crime of driving with a medical condition of having seizures and killing someone:

British Tourist in Manhattan: 15 years per dead.

United States Korean War Veteran in Queens: 1.33 years per dead.

Read more about the lives of the Rutledges' and Ms. Smith here.