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The cost of drinking and driving

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Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 10:00 pm

"Lodi man to spend a decade in prison for a fatal DUI crash." I respond with a sense of frustration.

What does one need to do to stop this senseless carnage? Dale Eisner has been sentenced to over 10 years in state prison for killing Pierre Ackermann and severely injuring his wife in a crash on Dec. 22, 2006, and it has taken until now for sentencing. The sentence might have been even higher had the original charge of second degree murder been maintained. Everything about this case is so sad and so unnecessary.

Mr. Eisner is an admitted alcoholic who had been sober for 22 years before he started drinking again. He knew the seriousness of his situation when he was arrested and sentenced for DUI about six months before this fatal crash.

The statement made by the family of Pierre Ackermann expressed the pain and suffering of that family, but the apologies and expression of regret of Eisner will not bring Ackermann back nor will it mitigate the pain and suffering of his wife. Very little is said about the pain and suffering inflicted on the family of the perpetrator by his own action. Little is said about the cost inflicted on his family and on society by the offender. And, all this is so unnecessary and avoidable. Sylvia Hinkley, Pierre's mother in law said it well: I cry for all of us! There are no winners here. Only losers.

I have attended many sentencing in the 23 years since my daughters were killed by a drinking man who made the bad decision to drink and drive. My heart is always for the families of the victims of this bad choice but I do get frustrated thinking about the families of the defendant. How dreadful it must be to see a family member lead off in handcuffs to be incarcerated for an extended period of time. How sad for kids to have a parent locked up.

The 23rd anniversary of my daughters' death is coming up. So, thinking of them, I pray that this will be a safe and sober graduation season. I do hope people will learn. Will they learn from sentences as published in the Sentinel? Does every family have to learn the hard way?

Franz R. Kegel


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