WHY WE FIGHT
"Vasean's Law" is a step in the right direction, but too bad it couldn't be applied retroactively. In the USA, it seems having a driver's license is literally a license to kill. From New York Newsday, Sept. 13:
Drunk driver who inspired Vasean's law released from jail
The drunken driver who mowed down two boys last year, killing one of them, is a free man after serving 38 days of his two-month sentence.
John Wirta, 57, of Fresh Meadows, was released from Rikers Island on Friday and yesterday showed up at the Queens courthouse in Kew Gardens to report to the city Probation Department.
"Wow. That's quick. It's amazing," said Diana Reyes, whose son Angel is still recovering from the Oct. 22 accident in which his best friend, Vasean Alleyne, 11, was killed as they crossed a street in Kew Gardens Hills.
"We knew that there's nothing we could do. It's just a shame how the laws were," Reyes said referring to her and Vasean's mother, Monique Dixon. "It's just amazing how you get to go back to normal, like nothing happened."
Wirta, a boiler repairman who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor crime of driving while intoxicated, now begins three years' probation. He must serve 15 days' community service, pay a $1,000 fine and forfeit his driver's license for six months.
Because of state law at the time, Wirta could be charged only with a misdemeanor because prosecutors could not prove he was driving recklessly at the time.
However, in June, Gov. George Pataki signed "Vasean's Law," which allows sentencing of up to 7 years in prison for driving accidents that cause death or serious injury.
At his sentencing, Wirta expressed his remorse.
"I'm sorry for the terrible accident that occurred," he said. "The parents' sorrow will be with me forever -- the rest of my life."
Yesterday, Wirta wasn't talking as he and one of his sons walked hurriedly away from the courthouse.
"Get away," Wirta said as he made his own getaway.
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