Precious Time


 

I sat in the courtroom and watched. Because I don’t want my personal feelings to show, I don’t shake my head as I say to myself, If we could only turn back the clock, just a day, just one night.

Favian Castro,21, stood alongside his newly appointed public defender as Benton County Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner set the young man’s bail at $75,000. 

I don’t know what Castro looked like before last weekend, but the bags under those frightened eyes indicate to me this young man hasn’t  slept much since corrections officers slid shut the door to his assigned jail cell.

Washington State Troopers arrested him Saturday night after he crashed his car on Interstate 82. One of his passengers died before paramedics pulled up to the side of the highway. Troopers say Castro appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Near the bottom of the WSP news release, troopers pointed out the 21-year-old man who died, Michael Hernandez, hadn’t worn a seatbelt.

If we only had that moment back when those young men made their decisions that night. Just a fraction of time in a lifetime.

Also on the Criminal Docket

Castro appeared in court an hour after another young man, Christopher Berry, 22, pleaded innocent to the same felony of vehicular homicide.

West Richland police arrested Berry in February after his car collided with two motorcycle riders on Bombing Range Road. Joel Vance, 62, died. His wife survived. Officers say Berry had been speeding when he crossed the center line and took out the bikes.

From Castro’s perspective, I guess Berry could be considered  lucky. Judge Spanner has allowed Berry to remain free on his own recognizance (without bail) until his scheduled trial in June.

It’s often difficult to sit in court and not shake my head.

Real Time

It’s prom season, and soon seniors will focus on graduation and, of course the big graduation blowout.

No coincidence, teenagers this month are also taking part in Every 15 Minutes, a worldwide program hammering away about the dangers of drinking and driving, speeding and texting while driving, and not wearing seatbelts.

It’s difficult to gage the campaign’s success because we don’t count the number of people who don’t drink and drive, who keep to the speed limit, and who wear their seat belts.

We only count those who don’t,  and suffer the consequences.

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