The newspaper reported something I have rarely seen, a driver sentenced to prison for killing someone on a bicycle. Two Massachusetts cyclists who were 52 and 60 years of age died during the Granite State Wheelmen Tri-State Seacoast Century ride in New Hampshire in January. They were hit by a 20 year old unlicensed impaired driver.
Apparently the driver was under the influence of a powerful painkiller when she drove into the bicyclists. She was charged with two counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
It is rare to hear of someone driving under the influence receiving that kind of sentence. All too often the public outcry is the sentence was too lenient, particularly when a cyclist dies. This sentence reflects the gravity of the crime of killing two people as a result of making a voluntary choice to drive drunk. This reckless conduct will not change until this type of penalty is imposed and the word gets out.
It is well known in our local law enforcement community that more than half of the drivers pulled over for impaired driving are on pills. This is a deadly and entirely preventable trend.
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