Behind The Eight Ball

Not long after Robert was home from the hospital we received word that the driver of the truck had been charged with Failure to Yield Causing Bodily Injury. We received a summons for Robert to appear and testify. We were happy that the other driver was charged, especially since the trucking company had taken a very aggressive stance, already taking steps to sue Robert for the damage to their truck.

Robert and I showed up on the day of the trial. When we arrived we checked in with court officials and were told the trial would start shortly. Officer Netherland was there (the officer who greeted us upon arrival at the hospital the night of the accident, see earlier article).

Suddenly officer Netherland came up to me and said he needed to see me in the hall. Once there he said; “I am going to recommend to the prosecutor that we drop the charges against the other driver”. I was shocked. I just stood there and tried to take in what he had said. I know he showed a lack of tact and impartiality that night in the emergency room but to recommend dropping charges, why?

I immediately asked him why he would do this since we had three witnesses to the accident that said it was not Robert’s fault. He told me that he did not know until just a few minutes ago that Robert would be unable to testify.

This was true. Since the accident, Robert had no recollection of the accident. The last thing he remembered was pulling out of the parking lot and heading home. He could recall nothing of coming over the hill and the truck pulling into his path from a construction site.

Still, I was puzzled as to why the officer would not want to bring a case. His answer was direct and revealing. He said that without Robert’s direct testimony against the other driver, he was unsure if we could win the case and he did not want to try unless he was 100% sure we could win since that would hurt his conviction percentage!

My response probably brought me close to arrest. Lets just say that I told him in no uncertain terms that we would move forward or I would hold him personally responsible for the outcome. We did move forward.

Unfortunately this officer did everything he could in his testimony to hurt our case. At one point the judge asked him a technical question on certain site distance requirements. These figures clearly showed the other driver at fault. Instead of just answering, the officer editorialized that the specifications really should be different than what they were. (This would have let the other driver off the hook) The judge would have no part of his editorializing and reminded him to stick to the facts without offering unfounded opinions.

In the end, none of this mattered because a recess was taken and the other driver changed his plea to no contest so the court accepted that and pronounced sentence.

To the casual reader this could seem like only a minor annoyance. One must keep in mind that our whole world had just been rocked by this accident. Our son had been seriously injured and from our vantage point everyone seemed to be bailing on him and us.

We are truly grateful for the wonderful medical care he received but even they gave us little hope for the future. At one point it was recommended to us to put him in a home and give up since he probably would uncontrollable and severely limited in his abilities.

Next the trucking company forced us to hire an attorney to defend ourselves and was coming after Robert even with witnesses against their driver and their driver being sentenced.

Our own insurance company seemed to be willing to pay the other side just to make them go away. It would be less expensive to pay them off than defend Robert.

The very people we look to for protection from wrong doers, in this case the police did not want to do what seemed so obviously correct.

So this incident was just too much for us at the time. We truly identified with Job when he felt God had abandoned him. But, praise the Lord this only drove us closer to our God. It put us in the position of the Israelites and Gideon when God made the odds so great that the praise for any victory had to be given to Him.

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