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5/25/2007 01:01:00 PM

Hancock family's lawsuit not going over well

Several readers have been up in arms, and not without reason, about Josh Hancock's family suing everyone in sight for the Cardinals pitcher's death in a car crash last month. Now, it's always tragic when a young person dies well before his time. But should Dean Hancock, Josh's dad, really be suing a) the bar that served Hancock drinks; b) the owner and driver of the tow truck that Hancock hit; c) the owner/driver of the car that the tow truck had stopped to help after it stalled from spinning out due to being cut off by another vehicle.

After all, police said that at the time of Hancock's fatal accident: His alcohol content was twice the legal limit, he was speeding, he was talking on his cell phone, he wasn't wearing a seat belt and he had marijuana in the car. That's five strikes right there. Hancock's family certainly doesn't want to hear a lecture on personal responsibility in their time of grief, but they also shouldn't invite one with what appears to be an excessive lawsuit.
posted by SI.com | View comments |  

Comments:

Posted: May 25, 2007 1:15 PM   by Anonymous
amen amen amen. Wonder he would have sued his son had he survived the accident...hell why not go ahead and sue him for all he is worth dead. Oh wait, he already has all Josh was worth. What a disgusting man.
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:15 PM   by Anonymous
It is absolute garbage. You are responsible for your own actions, no one forced him to drink and drive. What if he had hit someone? Think the family would be suing then?
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:15 PM   by Anonymous
Pete, your first sentence in the second paragraph says it all. Hancock had an accident. The word exists for a reason. Nobody acted in a purposeful manner. Notwithstanding the 5 strikes you correctly mentioned, it was....an ACCIDENT.

This is a tragedy for his family. I would not wish to add to their grief. But this lawsuit runs neck and neck with the Hot Coffee / Drive Through debacle of a decade ago. I am insulted by the actions of the senior Hancock, and hope a judge throws him out on his butt, at first opportunity. - Doc
The only problem I have is that the family isn't suing enough people. They totally missed out on several key contributors to the accident. First of all, what about the state, for not having more lights on the road so he could see the stopped vehicles? And I'll bet the road wasn't maintained well enough to cushion potentially lethal crashes, so that's a double on Missouri. What about Geo, who can't seem to make a car that won't stall? Not to mention the companies that made all the alcohol, whoever sold him that pot, and of course, both the manufacturer and service provider for the cell phone. Last but not least, the other bar he was heading to must assume at least some responsibility.
Wow! I can almost understand suing the bar, but then what kind of pressure are they under to serve a man who will clearly bring them business. The other lawsuits, absolutely ridiculous, and any lawyer/judge who entertains them should be disbarred. The senior Hancock needs to lose his lawyer's number until his grieving period is over.
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:37 PM   by Anonymous
I became enraged when I read word of the various lawsuits filed by Hancock. It is beyond outrageous to blame anything the reckless, lawless behavior of Josh Hancock for his own death. People like his father are a menace. If people took responsibility for their own actions -- like not driving when they are hopelessly intoxicated -- tragedies like this might not happen. It is lucky he did not kill others on the scene that night, or their survivors could be suing him!
I couldn't agree more.
When I first saw your new picture, Pete, I thought, 'Oh no! They fired Pete and got some other guy to do the 10 Spot!'

Then I realised it was just you without a hat on.
Actually anon. 1:15 there is more than meets the eye in the McDonald's case.

http://www.caoc.com/CA/index.cfm?event=showPage&pg=facts

Oh, and shouldn't the senior Mr. Hancock be suing the Cubs for beating the Boo Birds, causing his son to drink?
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:45 PM   by Anonymous
In Calif. (my state) and a number of other states you can't sue the bar if you drink and then get in an accident due to drinking and driving. It's simple logic, the serving of the drinks didn't cause the accident, the driving did.

The case will likely be tossed on a demurrer.
Most states have what is called a "dram shop act" (please note use of an English word not normally used in modern speech) that places responsibility on the bar owner for behavior of an intoxicated patron.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dram_Shop_Act has a general overview of the purpose.

I would argue that the lawsuit should be filed against the restaurants and bars that served Hancock when he was visibly intoxicated. They had a duty to stop serving alcohol to him.
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:47 PM   by Anonymous
Maybe they should sue their now deceased son. After all, it seems he was the one most negligent in his death.
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:49 PM   by Anonymous
Perhaps they should sue the auto dealer for not making Hancock buy the car with the automatic seat belt option. They are clearly to blame. If anything, the tow truck driver should be suing Hancock's estate because Hancock was the one drunk, high, and talking on the cell phone when he ran into the tow truck.
Posted: May 25, 2007 1:51 PM   by Anonymous
Almost see suing the bar?!?!?!? What in hell has happened to personal responsibility? I could see almost suing the bar, had the staff tied him to a chair, pinched his nose,and forced him to drink gallons of beer by funnel ( making it, of course, a fraternity house). Short of that, Josh Hancock is a adult male, who made his own decisions. Some of them, in hindsight, seem ill-advised. One huge problem in America is this culture of victimization. How does a business become responsibile for the actions of an adult who makes a conscious decision to order another cocktail. The very fact that anyone considers this part of this travesty acceptable drives me crazy.
From Anthony Verna

"I would argue that the lawsuit should be filed against the restaurants and bars that served Hancock when he was visibly intoxicated."

He may not have been visibly intoxicated. Plenty of alcoholics (not calling Josh an alky, it is just an example) can be twice the legal limit without anyone noticing.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:00 PM   by Winger
Most bars do have Liquor Liability insurance for just this type of case. So, that portion is not uncommon, but seriously, "I'm suing you because you own a 1989 Geo POS!" Come on! First off, the guy drives a Geo!! What do you think you are going to get from him? But, since Mr. Hancock is trying to find everyone he can in the world to sue, I would suggest that he tack on the names of all of the groupies of MLB players that were not in the bar that night, as one of them could have surely driven him to a motel across the way. This leads me to an extension on the suit of all hotels in the area that did not send groupies and other hanger-ons to the bar to "tend" to the younger Hancock. And finally, Mr. Hancock, the elder, should sue himself for turning his son's tragic death into a mockery. Just shut up and deal with it. Your kid messed up, nobody forced him to drink as much as he did, or smoke as much as he smoked, or talk on his phone (the caller or callee is another person to try since they either forced him to answer or call them), and nobody forced him to not wear his seatbelt.
Anon 1:51

Alcohol impairs judgement. When a person is clearly lacking in judgement, those providing the judgement-inhibating substance ought to shoulder some of the responsibility for serving someone who is cleary impaired.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:09 PM   by Anonymous
This is a bunch of BULL. Although, I am sorry that a young man lost his life, the fact of the matter is he was irresponsible in his actions. Why is this man placing the blame of everyone but his son. DoES he really think he will receive compensation from "Joe" the tow truck drive and a man driving a GEO Prism. I know he is in pain but his anger is misplaced. His son should have taken a taxi as I am sure he could afford to do so. This man should honor his son's memory and not blame others for his death.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:15 PM   by Anonymous
I don't see why the bar, the tow truck company, the driver, and as other people have pointed out, many others can't be held financially responsible to level of their level of complicity in this case.

Make it a $1.
Josh Hancock is dead and that is a tragedy. But this is just another instance of blaming everyone else for someone's own bad decisions. Josh Hancock is dead because of Josh Hancock, no one else. I'm sorry for his family's loss, but this was their son's fault.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:23 PM   by Anonymous
Might as well sue the city for building the roadways, teh construction company that built them, the utilitiy companies for not providing ample lighting such that a drunk, pot smoking, cellphone using driver can maneuver a vehicle properly, etc. I can understand the grief, but understand this: Your son CHOSE to drink, CHOSE to keep drinking, and CHOSE to drive home. Perhaps there were some parental mistakes in teaching your kids right from wrong. It was a horrible accident. Let it go.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:29 PM   by Anonymous
The family is going so far over the line it is insane. It is too bad that such a young individual had to be taken from this life, but it was completely and totally his fault. Everyone is very lucky that this individual did not hit and injure someone who is truly innocent. You mean he went to a bar and they served him liquor? Outrageous! Someone stalled their car on the side of the road? They were just asking to be hit. I really can't believe this guy.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:33 PM   by Anonymous
Hancock Sr. should also not forget to sue God for allowing his son to die, and just in case it was not God, but Allah, he should be sued as well. And since the Hancock's are equal opportunity suers, Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Joseph Smith, Pope Benedict, and the Rev. Al Sharpton could have interceded for his son's life, and since no intercession was given, they are therefore liable.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:34 PM   by Anonymous
After reading the press release about the death and then lawsuit filed by the father I immediately lawered up. I might be next! I read the article the released the news of his sons death, I just might be liable for contributing to his untimely and premature demise. Plus there's the fact that I have looked at alcohol, and I've heard of marijuana. My car is parked in my driveway without visible road flares surrounding it 24/7, even though I'm states away from the accident it's quite possible I too am liable for the accident
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:50 PM   by Anonymous
When I first heard this I thought it was pretty outrageous. However, I don't think we should judge this family so harshly - they've just lost a loved one and they're trying to come to grips with it. If the lawsuit is meritless, the courts will throw it out. Let the facts come out - who knows, maybe the tow truck was parked in the middle of the highway and he would have hit it whether intoxicated or not.
Posted: May 25, 2007 2:52 PM   by Anonymous
I am 24, drive a nearly new mercedeces clk500, v-8, etc. I just paid my insurance today...for 6 months it totalled $1025. I have no tickets, no accidents...and it took $700 in "reductions" just to get it down that low. Why is it so high? Because of lawsuits like this. He's not trying to win...she's trying to settle with a number of insurance companies, and it will cost a number of insurance companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle before it's all done.

Why do lawsuits like this happen? Because plaintiffs knows that insurance companies don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and therefore have they upper hand.

We should all sue litigators and judges irresponsible enough to take on cases like this...or to even allow a case like this to be heard in court.

As for me, my insurance probably just jumped $5 a month thanks to Mr. Hancock's extra cocktail.
Posted: May 25, 2007 3:00 PM   by Anonymous
wait are they also suing the other person on the cell phone call? Or was that Hancock's dad???
Posted: May 25, 2007 3:04 PM   by Anonymous
Nothing ticks me off faster than reading about frivilous law suits. One can only hope that these plaintiffs do not settle out of court. A stand aginst stupidity must be taken.
Posted: May 25, 2007 3:10 PM   by Anonymous
My understanding is that the bar manager (Daughter of a Card's legend) offer a cab.

It should also be noted that Hancock was driving a rental car because he smashed his car up two days earlier in another accident.

Sue the rental car company for not having automatic seat belts. Sue the sun for it being dark.
Posted: May 25, 2007 3:28 PM   by Anonymous
He should sue himself for not raising his son properly.
Posted: May 25, 2007 3:38 PM   by lionsfan
I hope I don't get sued for reading this article.......
Posted: May 25, 2007 4:17 PM   by Anonymous
I just hope someone is forwarding emails like these to the father. Does he not understand how badly he comes across filing such a ridiculous suit? Does he need the cash that badly? Did Josh not have life insurance either, in addition to all the foibles mentioned?
Posted: May 25, 2007 5:12 PM   by Anonymous
This young man has been dead less than a month and a suit has already been filed? I guess that they called their lawyer before calling the funeral home. This is not part of the early grieving process in a healthy family.
Posted: May 25, 2007 5:48 PM   by Anonymous
"This young man has been dead less than a month and a suit has already been filed? I guess that they called their lawyer before calling the funeral home."

I wouldn't be surprised if the lawyer called the family. Maybe even several of them. The term 'ambulance-chaser' didn't come out of nowhere...
Posted: May 25, 2007 7:38 PM   by Anonymous
It wasn't an accident, it was a spoiled rich brat who decided to get drunk and high and get behind the wheel. the tow truck driver should file a suit againast that stupid greedy family, that druck could have killed some innocent person
Posted: May 25, 2007 9:40 PM   by Anonymous
Sounds like his dad is an irresponsible lush also. Guess he came by it honestly.
Posted: May 25, 2007 9:51 PM   by Anonymous
America, the land of lawsuits and no accountability.

The bar being sued is not outrageous to me. The tow truck driver is a stretch, but only if he was there for a long time and didn't use flares on a dark road.

But when I heard that the driver of the broken down car was sued as well, I literally laughed out loud.

Hancock Sr. just brought shame to himself, his family and his son's memory.

Hopefully they find themselves the victim of suits to the estate of Josh from the tow truck company and the driver of the disabled car. That would be justice.
Posted: May 25, 2007 11:37 PM   by Dave from Pittsburgh
It is ridiculous actions like this that cause me to become more and more disgusted with the overall attitude of our supposedly great society everyday. Blame for the suit itself should be shared by the family and the lawyers. I have no doubt some money hungry lawyer came up with the idea to sue the towtruck driver and the car owner, and that's just plain PATHETIC!!! Someone needs to remind Mr. Hancock that it was a PRIVILEGE for his son to have a job as a Major League Baseball player. His son abused that privilege and it is that reason and that reason alone that Josh Hancock ended up in this situation. What makes this even worse for me, is that somewhere out there, there most likely exists a judge who not only would hear this case, but would somehow be swayed to side with Mr. Hancock.

As for my obligatory list of people who still should be sued in this case...all bartenders working at the restaurant, all patrons of the restaurant, anyone who recognized Josh Hancock in the bar that night, Josh Hancock's high school friends (or college friends) who introduced him to alcohol (because I'm sure growing up that the Hancock residence was beer and liquor free), the car manufacturer for not having automatic seatbelts in the vehicle, George W Bush because he's not from Missouri, Canada because we blame them for everything else, al Queda (everyone knows they were actually responsible for this anyway), the tow truck driver's wife for not making him move to another state, the internet because it caused this news to spread nationwide quickly, Al Gore for inventing the internet, the Detroit Tigers - if they had won the Series last year perhaps Hancock would have been practicing instead of partying, panda bears (no one really likes them), and Mrs. Hancock (Josh's mom) for not raising a more responsible son....

I'm moving to Canada if Mr. Hancock wins this suit...wait, they're part of the suit...TIJUANA OR BUST!!!
Posted: May 26, 2007 12:03 AM   by Anonymous
The father should sue the local daycare center for not providing a baby sitter to his son as he apparently needed one. The drunk in the bar isn't responsible, the bar workers are? Bull!! So they refuse to serve someone and get sued for racial discrimination, sexual discrimination etc. The tow truck driver and GEO driver ought to be counter suing.
It's the American way, sue, sue, sue. While I have a lot of empathy for the Hancock family, losing a loved one is the hardest thing in life to deal with..., I don't think this is the way to go.

Why not put your energy into seeing that these types of things decline? Of course we have organizations like MADD, etc but it seems like the Hancocks are trying to put blame on everyone else instead of the person most responsible. What if Josh Hancock had killed a few people when he ran into the back of the truck? We would not be having this "dialogue."

May Josh Hancock rest in peace and sure hope his family finds a better way to grieve than suing half of St. Louis...
Posted: May 26, 2007 7:05 AM   by Mike C
My reaction of disgust is similar to most everyone else posting, but I think there may be an alternate reason for the suit. The drivers of the tow truck and broken down car would normally look at their wreck, and see that the cause was a MLB pitcher and see $ signs light up. It is possible that these two have been included in te suit as a preemptive strike to try to get them to settle before they start suing the estate for the damage and "emotional distress". This possiblility could explain the strategy employed in suing them, but it still says alot of what's wrong with the system.
Posted: May 26, 2007 9:46 AM   by Anonymous
I live in Tupelo, Mississippi, and know the Hancock family. Dean Hancock is a well respected person in our community. He was a great father to Josh and will continue being a great dad to Josh's younger brother and sister.

However, I think he is completely wrong to file suit - especially this soon after Josh's death. There's talk of some legal wrangling between Mr. Hancock and Josh's mom, who lives in Michigan, which may have prompted Mr. Hancock to file the suit this quickly. Having been on the sued end of a case like this, I think all Mr. Hancock wants is for the insurance carriers for the restaurant, the wrecker and the individual whose vehicle stalled to settle out of court for whatever liability payments they can make. You noticed there was no dollar figure published. It's one of this open-ended suits to get the insurance process going and the preferred option is to settle out of court.

There's no reason why the car owner and the wrecker should be part of this suit. Anyone in his right mind knows that if Josh weren't drunk and trying to talk on his cell phone, he would have seen the tow truck and made the adjustment to avoid hitting it. Mr. Hancock and his attorneys probably feel these folks don't have the finances to battle this in court, so the easy thing to do is let the insurance companies settle up. But facts are facts, Josh Hancock was drunk at the time of the accident, trying to talk on a cell phone, not wearing a seat belt and had marijuana in the vehicle. The individual, the tow service and their insurance companies should fight this, and I think they fact the facts on their side.

Now, Mr. Hancock may have a case - maybe not much of one - against Shannon's restaurant. Instead of letting Josh have his way, they should have been more forceful in preventing him from driving. Still, Josh Hancock was an adult and he made the decision to drive - and it cost him his life. I have a feeling this part of the suit will wind up going to trial.

As for the $$$ issue - it's not like the Hancock family is hurting for money. They've been blessed, as folks like to say down here. Dean Hancock is executive director of the fundraising division for the regional medical center system. He does a great job and is well compensated for it.

The sudden action by Mr. Hancock in filing the suit bothers even the people who know him and his family here in Tupelo. I can understand you guys' reactions and anger toward the suit and toward Josh's father. There are many in Tupelo who are shaking their heads, too. We also want to know why ... why so soon after the accident? Surely Mr. Hancock and his attorney shold've known how this would be seen in the public eye and that they would be looked at as being greedy. I guess they didn't. But as I said earlier, I think there are some underlying things going on within the family that prompted the suit to be file this quick.
Posted: May 26, 2007 10:04 AM   by Anonymous
I miss the original 10 spot
Posted: May 26, 2007 3:49 PM   by Anonymous
this suit is just plain wrong in every way possible.
Posted: May 26, 2007 4:45 PM   by Anonymous
the dad is right, but he missed some lawsuits:
god for creating air and everybody involded in the accident
george w. bush for being president
george sr. for being the presidents father
the guy who painted the streets because he did a bad job
and finally the cardinals for having him on the team, because if they didnt have him maybe the accident wouldnt happen
How much alcohol was Pops Hancock drinking when he made the decision to sue everyone and his uncle? It seems that common sense was left out of the Hancock gene pool.
Posted: May 28, 2007 7:24 AM   by Anonymous
Anon 9:46 - I think you're missing the point here. It's not the timing of the lawsuit, it's the fact that he is suing in the 1st place that has virtually everyone up in arms. This guy's son was TOTALLY and without doubt in the wrong and yet HE is suing everyone else involved. Please don't try to explain this away with the "underlying" reasons of getting the ball rolling for the insurance companies - that would only be the case if it were the tow truck driver and/or the broken down car's owner suing - they were the victims in this, not Hancock. They and their insurance compnies owe him NOTHING! Call this what this is, a grieving father trying to lay the blame for the premature death of his son anywhere other than where it really lies - squarely, and solely, at his son's feet. Does that make it right? Not even close - but that's what's truly happening.
Posted: May 28, 2007 10:20 AM   by Anonymous
I think that the tow truck company should sue Hancock's family to recover the cost of the destroyed tow truck.
Posted: May 28, 2007 12:00 PM   by Anonymous
This could have been at the suggestion of a lawyer. I know a lady who was driving and her car slipped on ice, and met an SUV head-on. Her husband was killed in the accident. A lawyer friend of hers suggested that her husband's company (which was left to her with the death) bring a lawsuit against her for wrongful death. That way, she could sue herself, and the insurance company would settle out of court, rather than take on an expensive lawsuit. She declined.
What is with these lawyers? How can they twist themselves into their suits, being as crooked as they are?
Posted: May 28, 2007 3:35 PM   by Anonymous
Can we really blame Josh, if Hancock Sr. were my father I'd probably drink and get high whenever I could.
Posted: May 28, 2007 7:26 PM   by Anonymous
The only good thing I can say to Mr. Hancock is at least his drunken, drug using son did not take anybody else out with him.
Posted: May 29, 2007 12:17 AM   by Anonymous
So one commenter who knows the Hancock family points out that they "don't need the money." So a rich dad is suing everyone on earth for the death of his drug-using son who crashed while drunk, on the phone, and not wearing a seatbelt.
He may say that Dean Hancock is "well respected," but from where I sit it looks like the trash didn't fall far from the can.
Posted: May 29, 2007 1:56 AM   by Anonymous
Obviously Dean Hancock was a bad parent... 1. He failed to teach Josh how to abstain from drinking and driving. 2. He failed to teach Josh to stay away from drugs. 3. He failed to teach Josh how to obey speed limit laws. And 4. He didn't teach Josh how to wear his seat belt.
Let's leave distracted driving out of this equation!

What are the chances that the tow truck owner, tow truck driver, and stalled car owner/driver will sue Dean Hancock for damages? Why not? Josh broke 4 laws, (5 if there was a cell phone law in effect). Dad didn't teach his son how to obey the law!
Posted: May 29, 2007 6:54 AM   by Simon Kimbrell
The ACCIDENT was one person's fault - Josh Hancock - his father should stop trying to frivolously extract money from innocent parties. I hope the judge throws this lawsuit out faster than his Josh's fastball.
Posted: May 29, 2007 3:35 PM   by Anonymous
While reading about the lawsuit and the other comments on this page I was reminded of the lyrics to the song Blame Canada from the South Park movie, particularly the last few lines...


Sheila: Times have changed
Our kids are getting worse
They won't obey their parents
They just want to fart and curse!
Sharon: Should we blame the government?
Liane: Or blame society?
Dads: Or should we blame the images on TV?
Sheila: No, blame Canada
Everyone: Blame Canada
Sheila: With all their beady little eyes
And flapping heads so full of lies
Everyone: Blame Canada
Blame Canada
Sheila: We need to form a full assault
Everyone: It's Canada's fault!
Sharon: Don't blame me
For my son Stan
He saw the damn cartoon
And now he's off to join the Klan!
Liane: And my boy Eric once
Had my picture on his shelf
But now when I see him he tells me to f**k myself!
Sheila: Well, blame Canada
Everyone: Blame Canada
Sheila: It seems that everything's gone wrong
Since Canada came along
Everyone: Blame Canada
Blame Canada
Copy Guy: They're not even a real country anyway
Ms. McCormick: My son could've been a doctor or a lawyer rich and true,
Instead he burned up like a piggy on the barbecue
Everyone: Should we blame the matches?
Should we blame the fire?
Or the doctors who allowed him to expire?
Sheila: heck no!
Everyone: Blame Canada
Blame Canada
Sheila: With all their hockey hullabaloo
Liane: And that b**ch Anne Murray too
Everyone: Blame Canada
Shame on Canada
For...
The smut we must stop
The trash we must bash
The Laughter and fun
Must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before someone thinks of blaming uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!
Posted: May 30, 2007 1:19 PM   by Anonymous
You people are all knee-jerk reactionary morons. Sheep. You don't know all the facts. Baaaaa...
Suing the bar is ridiculous and any attorney could ask one simple question: Did he have anything to drink before or after he was in the bar? After all, he had his bag-o-weed, who can verify he didn't start the night off first with a half-pint of liquor to shoot?
The Hancock's are turning their son's tragic death into an embarrassment, sounds like they want to profit now from this tragedy.
They should be thankful no innocent party was injured due to their son's pure negligence.
Just another pro-athlete thinking he's above the law and unbreakable.
Posted: May 30, 2007 3:05 PM   by Anonymous
People who have no knowledge of the law should keep their mouths shut. It's called a Dram Shop Act, as referenced by a previous comment. It recognizes that an owner of an establishment has a duty to dispense alcohol in a responsible manner, to not only protect patrons, but anyone on the road. If Hancock had hit and killed someone, that family could sue the bar for failing to regulate alcohol provided to an intoxicated individual. If Hancock was visibly intoxicated at the time he was at teh restaurant, they had a duty to not keep serving him. you might think that is rediculous, but that is the law. It recognizes that people in intoxicated states don't make responsible decisions. It is designed to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers.
Posted: May 30, 2007 3:14 PM   by siamjeff
Why do citizens of freedom loving countries look for excuses when they show such a lack of responsibility enjoying that freedom or get caught abusing it? Nobody forced drinks down his throat, talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal, not wearing a sealbelt is illegal and last time I checked possession of marihuchi was too ... c'mon already, this guy's family should just own up he made a critical mistake and paid for it dearly.
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