Justice, the truth, civility and caution

Published 7:37 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

Editorial by Bobby Tingle


Carl Broussard was sentenced Monday for a crime he committed. He was charged with failure to stop and render aid after a collision that resulted in the death of a young mother and her child.

Broussard was traveling, at night, on MacArthur Drive when he maneuvered into the turning lane to turn on Donnell Street. The young mother and her daughter were in his path. He struck them, but continued to travel to his destination, stopping momentarily to look back, but proceeding on. He managed to evade searches by law enforcement officers that night, went to work the next morning, turned in his resignation and turned himself in to the authorities, admitting guilt.

Monday, nineteen months after the incident, court was held. The evidence was presented, but the verdict was predetermined, Broussard admitted guilt, he failed to stop and render aid at the scene of the incident. The purpose of the trial was to determine his sentence. After hearing the evidence presented by the attorneys, the judge sentenced Broussard to pay a $10,000 fine and serve ten years probation with probation having the option to have him serve 6 months in the Orange County Jail as a stipulation of his probation.

Satisfaction in the outcome of this case is difficult to come by. Questions such as, how can a man get by with causing the death of two persons and not be more severely punished? Or, why was he not charged with some form of murder?

Apparently, based on the known facts in this case, the law that applies to this case and the confession of guilt in this case directed the justice system. The charges and ultimately the punishment sentenced were within those boundaries.

But, few are satisfied with the results. Justice seems to be an allusive outcome based on what we know. Complicating the outcome further still are the questions we will never have answers for.

I cannot offer any consolation to the relatives or friends of the deceased. I do not know if justice was served. The unanswered questions, unknown circumstances, any one of which, if revealed, could change the outcome entirely and make this outcome unsavory. But, we have to deal with what we know.

So, what can we take from this tragedy?

At the risk of seeming to lecture, I would offer two things.

If you are operating a motor vehicle, slow down, put your phone down, leave the radio alone and pay attention. We are all guilty of distractions, and we think far too much of our ability to ‘multi-task’. Driving requires our full attention especially in neighborhoods and at night.

If you are a pedestrian realize you must travel along and cross motor vehicle paths with the realization that you are vulnerable. Don’t take risks and assume the motor vehicle driver will never see you.

Too often as I drive down the streets of Orange, other drivers impatiently ride my bumper. Children play and sometimes venture into the path of oncoming vehicles in these neighborhoods. Adults walk trying to shed a few pounds or exercise their heart in these neighborhoods. Passing slow drivers, like me in these neighborhoods, could put one of those pedestrians at risk. It seems odd that in many of the cases where the impatient driver is able to pass my vehicle that we end up side by side at the next controlled intersection.

We may never know the whole truth in this case and multiple others. We ought to be civil though as we pursue justice with a vengeance.

I don’t expect to make anyone feel any better about the outcome of this case. But if one person slows down, leaves his phone alone and pays full attention to his or her driving and one tragedy is avoided then our time spent on these words will be worth it.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.