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Technicalites undermine justice in fatal crash



Published: Wed, April 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



EDITOR

It has been a sad few months for several families and the sadness has just been made worse by the Trumbull County grand jury.

My stepmother-in-law Peggy Snyder was involved in a motor vehicle accident on January 28, which killed her life long friend Yvonne Edwards. After church in Masury, as they often did, the two were going shopping in Sharon when a car driven by Catherine Settlemire crossed over the center line and hit them head on.

Ms. Settlemire admitted to drinking and failed the field test given by the State Highway Patrol as well as failed the breathalyzer test given at the Brookfield police.

Ms. Settlemire refused any medical treatment and was walking around the accident scene and she also walked into the police department.

Now, all the aggravated charges against her have been dropped by the grand jury because of technicalities. The results of the breathalyzer test were thrown out on a technicality because the machine was overdue for service -- even though it passed a subsequent test. The field sobriety test was thrown out another technicality -- her ankle was broken, even though she was walking around at the scene of the accident.

Troublesome? You tell me! Both the prosecutor in Trumbull County court as well as the judge recused themselves because they knew her "casually" and the case was sent to the grand jury.

The grand jurors are the ones who threw out all the "aggravated" charges. The lady has caused more pain in the families of these two wonderful ladies, and the maximum she can get is 6 months in jail.

What a wonderful state we live in. We can go out and drink to heart's content, take another person's life and all we have to look forward to is 6 months.

This is the biggest injustice I have ever seen and it makes me sick to think that this can happen.

CHRISTIE L. GRACHANIN

Campbell




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