A recent article explains how last December a Virginia woman, Margaret A. Luecke, was driving when she made a left turn and struck a police officer that was responding to a call on his motorcycle. Sadly, the officer was killed. Luecke was very remorseful about the incident, but she did make an error that resulted in a death.
Situations like this one can result in vehicular homicide charges that lead to jail time and more. Ms. Luecke is a 70 year old woman with not so much as a traffic ticket on her driving record so she was able to plead no contest to reckless driving charges.
Luecke was sentenced yesterday to 200 hours of community service, probation and a $2500 fine. She also had her license suspended for 6 months but is still able to drive to church, community service and medical visits.
The deceased officer's family, however, is not happy with this outcome. They believe that they were not even given an apology and are concerned that her driving skills are no longer what they used to be and that she is capable of causing another death. You can probably understand where they are coming from since she did make a serious error that cost someone their life, but is it really fair to put a 70 year old upstanding citizen in jail for one mistake?
It seems that this kind of sentencing is normal in situations like this where a driver made an error but was otherwise responsible and showed genuine remorse. Vehicular homicide charges and lengthy jail penalties are usually saved for offenders who are under the influence or being particularly reckless. The Press Herald reports one such case. A fatal accident occurred in Biddeford, Maine where the driver was under the influence. He was recently sentenced to 37 months in jail.
So while the family of the deceased officer in Virginia cannot be blamed for wanting more justice for their son, Ms. Luecke's sentence was not especially light for her crimes. This is just an unfortunate accident where nobody wins.