Dec 31, 2007

"Sorry, Bro": Drunk Kills Five, Injures Three

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Left: Image of crash scene by Lori King/Toledo Blade

Those of you who plan to imbibe on New Year's Eve ought to read the Toledo Blade account of the drunk driver who killed five members of a Maryland family Sunday night. 24-year-old Michael P. Gagnon, of Adrian MI, drove the wrong way on I-280, smashing into a minivan.

Dead on the scene were Bethany Griffin, 36, Jordan Griffin, 10, Lacie Burkman, 7, Haley Burkman, 10, while Vadi Griffin, only six months old, was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Danny Griffin, 36, Sidney Griffin, 8, and Beu Burkman, 8, remain hospitalized.

In typical drunk-driver-accident-causing fashion, Michael Gagnon survived and was walking the scene around complaining of jaw pain after the crash. He is expected to be released from the hospital in the next day, at which point Gagnon will be charged with five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. He will likely be facing punishment for first degree felonies under ORC 2903.06, which brings penalties up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine on each count. The penalties increase if Gagnon has prior alcohol- or drug-related offenses on his record.

Gagnon registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.254, which is over three times the legal limit of .08 in Ohio. Compounding Gagnon's stupidity, of course, was that the idiot decided to get liquored up at the Rodeo Bar in Oregon, OH, meaning that he had a 35-40 mile trip back to his home in Adrian, MI, if that was indeed his destination. News reports indicated that Gagnon's brother Samuel called the intoxicated driver minutes before the crash, only to be told by drunken schlep: "Sorry, bro."

"Sorry, bro"? Drunkenness aside, Gagnon is the epitome of the selfish drunk, who puts his own inebriated impulses in front of the lives of other motorists.

Gagnon leaves in his drunken wake the bodies of five innocent victims, with another three injured survivors. Countless other lives of the people who knew the victims will be affected by the tragedy, and every person with a conscience who reads about this horror will shudder at the utter senselessness of the asinine choices of Michael Gagnon.

Yet, if this tragedy manages to remain lodged in the head of a few dozen drunks this New Year's Eve, perhaps other fatal accidents will be averted. Maybe - just maybe - there can be a positive ripple effect from the incomprehensible, deadly idiocy of Michael Gagnon, and perhaps unknown future lives will be saved by inebriated persons who act in a responsible fashion and hand over their keys to a sober friend.

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

horrible, horrible, and I hope the bastard gets life in prison

Anonymous said...

He doesn't deserve to live long enough to get life in prison. He killed 5 children, 4 of which were CHILDREN! Taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill to support his murdering ass for the rest of his life. Those children will never grow up because of that idiot, he doesn't deserve to live either.

Robin said...

Situations like this drive me insanely angry. Of course the stupid drunk walks away with minimal injury.

I am glad that the employees of Taco Bell called the police, even though the police didn't catch him before he hit the highway.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that a few days of consideration lead this sack of shit to realize that suicide really is his best option.

kooz said...

Had this guy run a red light and killed these people...would you then change your stance on your opposition to red light cams?

I should hope so.

historymike said...

Anonymous #1:

Agreed that it is difficult to feel any sympathy for Gagnon after this horrible nightmare.

historymike said...

Anonymous #2:

Agreed that it is difficult to reconcile this tragedy with the prospect of spending $30K or more a year to house Gagnon during his years in prison. Still, there is something to be said for this twit having to live every day of his life knowing what he has done to so many innocent people.

historymike said...

Robin:

Yes, I too share a sense of righteous rage that makes it hard for me view this tragedy objectively. If it were my family members that died, I pray that all Louisville Sluggers within a 50-mile radius disappear, because I feel the urge to seek some wooden justice.

historymike said...

Anonymous #3:

My suspicion is that Gagnon might be too self-centered for remorse, but admittedly my opinion is influenced by his behavior.

historymike said...

Kooz:

All the red-light cameras in the world would have had no effect on a drunken idiot like this. If he was too drunk to realize he was driving the wrong way on the expressway, I highly doubt that he would have paid any attention to red-light cameras.

Besides, my dislike of red-light cameras has more to do with: a) Fourth Amendment concerns; b) their tendency to cause MORE accidents by people locking up their brakes to avoid getting a ticket; and c) the fact that courts seem to be discounting extenuating circumstances (wet roads, assured safe distance, etc.) as they hear appeals.

Anonymous said...

Did you really just put an ad inside of this post about five people being killed...including a baby??

Wow.

historymike said...

Anonymous # whatever:

I expect you to also take to task the newspapers, television, and radio stations that also have advertising while covering this story.

I never cease to be amazed at the double standards bloggers face. If it will make you feel better, I am donating to the family's memorial fund far in excess of the nickels I make from blog ads, and I am considering starting a Toledo collection at one of the area banks if no one else starts it.

historymike said...

After rethinking this, I removed the link in question. Far be it from me to be accused of profitting from the tragedy, although you can bet that my competitors in traditional media are not giving back an additional ad revenue they derive from the influx of visitors/readers/viewers this story is generating.

Historychic said...

Mike, Let me know if a fund is established and when, as I would like to contribute. The sight of seeing the infant carseat on the road sent chills down my spine.

Roo said...

Mike - This is truly a tragedy. And one that could have been avoided with a little common sense and a lot less machismo.

I would hope that once Gagnon is out of his stupor that he is truly racked with guilt deep inside.

For almost 20 years I dealt with this kind of thing on a 'too routine' basis. It doesn't get any easier, it doesn't make any more sense and it certainly does make for some sleepless nights.

While I feel for the families of those that died, my heart also goes out to the police and firefighters that were on that scene. Having been there I can tell you that many of them were crying like babies - if not visibly, at least on the inside. The combination of fear, loss and anger is horrible in those situations.

The old saying is that God looks out for drunks and fools. I am sure that fits Gagnon. Maybe Bubba in the prison system will look out for Gagnon inside.

The Ghost of Che Guevara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
historymike said...

(deleting neo-Nazi idiocy)

MaumeeMom said...

This is a horrible tragedy indeed and, like Historychic, the site of that infant carrier in the road is burned into my mind.

I hope that Toledo as a community can pull together to help the survivors. Mike, please let us know when you have info about a fund for this family. Thanks!

Barb said...

Did you all see the news account that said some drive-thru employees recognized he was drunk and called the police --but they arrived 3 minutes after he left their establishment. And another driver, I believe, said he reported him as soon as he saw him get on the freeway the wrong way. There are vigilant people sounding the alarms, but it takes such short time to have an auto accident.

We don't hear much about the "evils of alcohol" (or gambling) anymore. It used to be that the fundamentalist Christians railed against these substances and activities --so much so that they were a political party, the Prohibition Party, and while the historians say prohibition "didn't work," it did slow down per capita consumption for 4 to 5 decades --we retained our pre-prohibition
(1920's) level of consumption in the 1970's. And have probably exceeded it since --as many of the conservative churches have moderated their stance.

My husband tells me that official prohibition was successful in reducing drinking as proven by the cirrhosis of the liver stats --which improved dramatically when liquor was illegal. (Even though it was still obtainable through illegal means and became the focus of crime-stoppers activity like the drug trade today.)

How much of a role does alcohol play in family abuse of all kinds? And is it not responsible for MOST traffic accidents?

Perhaps it's time for Carrie Nation to rise again!

Mad Jack said...

This is the kind of tragedy that just isn't right. The parents will have to bury their children, and I don't know how they will ever survive that. Then, every year, they will have to re-live this familial catastrophe as retail outlets ramp up for the Christmas commercial holiday. I pray they get some Divine intervention, because that's the only way I think any parent could come through this with their spirit intact.

That the perpetrator was belligerent and uncooperative with the police means nothing. The fact that Gagnon was dead, stinking drunk is only a contributing factor. The real issues that will never be addressed are: What were Gagnon's driving skills like when he was cold sober? I'm betting that his skills were so poor that he should never be allowed on the road at all, but just try getting the Ohio legislature to pass laws requiring a comprehensive driving test coupled with an electronic card reader for the operator's license in every car registered in Ohio.

The State can punish Mr. Gagnon after the fact, but so what? What is Ohio doing to get terrible drivers like Gagnon off the road before a crime is committed?

Finally, although this scenario is particularly tragic and horrific, statistics show that people are killed and crippled in auto accidents every day. Punishing these bad drivers is fine, but what is done in Ohio to help their victims?

Anonymous said...

You know, Mike, I have been thinking about this accident for the last two days, and one thing really seems certain to me- *if* the cops were able to catch up to him at any point, they certainly could not have stopped him from what he did. Clearing the interstate would have taken many more minutes than what they had to work with. I hope this makes police and dispatchers take notice to incoming drunk driver calls with a little more fervor from this point on. And, most importantly, I hope it makes people second guess getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Barb said...

The trouble with being drunk is that you don't have good judgment about your incapacity to drive. We think the drunk surely realize they need to get someone to drive for them --but they aren't dealing with a full deck for good intentions under the influence.

"Whoosh drunk? NOt ME. I'm jushfine."

marletteus said...

Dan Griffin and his family are very good friends of my son. We are all in total shock. I hope Gagnon never sees the light of day he took the lives of such innocent children and their mother. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jodi, Jordans mother from Redford MI

Anonymous said...

Have any of you made mistakes? Been drunk? Done anything stupid, anytime in our life? Yes, 5 people were killed, 4 of them being children. Have we never seen anything so tragic like this before? I do believe so. Had this been a 90 year old woman would you feel the same? probably not... And as for his "murdering ass"... how can he be considered a murderer? It's not like he went to the bar with intentions of driving the wrong way on the interstate, while completely intoxicated, and thought, 'hmm... I think I will crash into that van and kill 5 people.' The kid messed up, and yes he should be punished. Probably with 10-20 years in prison, and knowing for the rest of his life, that the decision that he made that night will haunt him, until his dying day. I know Mike, and I know he is in pain as I type this thinking what he has done...

Robin said...

Would you consider it murder if someone was playing Russian Roulette and killed someone? Driving drunk is playing the same kind of game. It certainly isn't an "accident". It has pounded into the heads of most of us, from our first memories that driving drunk is wrong and the dangers of it. He had NO EXCUSE for getting behind the wheel of that truck!

MaumeeMom said...

Responding to anonymous from Thursday, January 03, 2008 9:19:00 AM:
Yes, 5 people were killed, 4 of them being children. Have we never seen anything so tragic like this before? I do believe so.
Unfortunately, we have seen this type of tragedy before and it is as horrific this time as it was in the past. People should learn from mistakes not repeat them.

Had this been a 90 year old woman would you feel the same? probably not... Any loss of life in this kind of situation is inexcusable regardless of age. And, yes, if Michael had killed just one 90 year old woman, I would be this upset as this was totally avoidable.

And as for his "murdering ass"... how can he be considered a murderer? His weapons of choice we a vehicle and alcohol, maybe not a gun but still very effective.

It's not like he went to the bar with intentions of driving the wrong way on the interstate, while completely intoxicated, and thought, 'hmm... I think I will crash into that van and kill 5 people.' No, he had the option of staying at the hotel with his family which makes this much worse. There was a viable alternative and he made the choice to get into that truck and get on the road. Regardless of whether or not he set out to do it - it was his choices that made this happen.

The kid messed up, and yes he should be punished. Probably with 10-20 years in prison, and knowing for the rest of his life, that the decision that he made that night will haunt him, until his dying day. I know Mike, and I know he is in pain as I type this thinking what he has done... I am sure that he is remorseful and I hope that he can use the time that he is incarcerated to improve himself and the educate those at risk of repeating his mistake.

The community is highly emotional regarding this occurrence and friends and family of Mr. Gagnon need to understand this. Please do not expect to go onto message boards and change anyone's mind regarding how they feel about this tragedy.

Historychic said...

Well said Maumeemom!!!!! To anyone who supports or defends Gagnon, keep it to yourself, as he is still alive while the four children and their mother are dead and nothing will ever bring them back.

Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT WE SHOULD LEAVE THE JUDGING UP TO GOD!!!! HE IS TRULY THE ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT HAPPEN AND WHY.

Anonymous said...

Responding to Anonymous - Thursday, January 03, 2008 8:32:00 PM
Anonymous said...
I THINK THAT WE SHOULD LEAVE THE JUDGING UP TO GOD!!!! HE IS TRULY THE ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT HAPPEN AND WHY.


If we did then every criminal, rapist, pedaphile and murderer would be on the streets not in jail. In this society we have rules and consequences. Unless he gives up his rights, Mr. Gagnon will be tried in front of a jury of his peers who will judge him. That is the law.

We do know what happened - Mr. Gagnon got drunk, drove a truck the wrong way on the freeway and killed 5 people. Any other information is not needed to know that he broke the law.

steve said...

I think that part of Gagnon's punishment should be to go on a police escorted statewide high school tour every 6 months where he speaks to high school juniors and seniors on the dangers of drunk driving. He doesn't seem to have any contrition or empathy at the moment but...

This is how it would work:

Every six months Mr. Gagnon would be escorted to various high schools through out the state to give a 20 minute presentation about his experience with drunk driving. Prior to his presentation the police would put on a video of the tragic events and how they transpired. Then Mr. Gagnon would give his presentation. 20 minutes.. no more.. no less.. He could just stand there in defiance and not say anything. Or he could make comedy out of it - "whats up bro's".. Or ultimately he could embrace the opportunity to make right in his small way the egregious wrong he has done.

Anonymous said...

I THINK THAT WE SHOULD LEAVE THE JUDGING UP TO GOD!!!! HE IS TRULY THE ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT HAPPEN AND WHY.

Well said. 5 people were killed. There's nothing nayone can say or do that will change that fact.

Anonymous said...

This is outrageous,and unforgivable, my heart and prayers go out to the remaining family, as for the drunk driver, the punk bastard hope he gets life in prison and spends the rest of days always remembering that he has murdered these inocent children and their mother and it tortures him.

Anonymous said...

I know it's been a week since this horrific, senseless tragedy occurred and the postings are slowing down....but I had to say a few things on my mind:
-There is no doubt that Mr. Gagnon needs to be in prison for a long...very long... time for what happened. However, I often wonder how many people out there in America drive around with a BAC of .26 like Mr. Gagnon's that night. Not a lot, to be sure, because that is STUPEFYINGLY drunk! Enough to send many people into a deep coma, to say the least.
-My point, though, is I am sure there are MANY (hundreds, perhaps thousands) of drivers out there right now on our highways with a BAC of .20 + where it is impossible for someone to even think straight, much less hit the highway. Shouldn't all these hidden drunk drivers be similarly vilified by name on the Internet even though they were "fortunate" enough not to kill 5 innocent people in a shocking fashion that hits the national headlines such as this?
We can all go ahead and do the "Salem Witch Hunt" on Michael Gagnon....I certainly understand that....Just remember, though, this is but a small slice of the 40,000 Americans killed in car accidents each and every year.
Perhaps this is a good time for our car-dependent society to reflect on how we can cut down on this level of carnage on our roads in general. (For the record, about half of the 40,000 Americans killed each year in their cars are alcohol-related collisions).
In this case...I have heard the excellent idea of "back-up spikes" on the upper reaches of off-ramps...whereas if you go UP the ramp in the correct direction...everything's fine...but if you're going down the wrong way, the spikes flatten your tires.
Sure, what Mr. Gagnon did was beyond stupidity, but I could see where those spikes would have averted something like this.

Anonymous said...

LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.

ALL OF US MAKE MISTAKES ALL OR MOST OF US HAVE DRIVEN DRUNK AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. HE WAS JUST THE UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE A CRASH. GOD WILL JUDGE HIM JUST AS HE WILL JUDGE ALL OF US. I PRAY FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED IN THIS INCIDENT BECAUSE ALL ARE GRIEVING!!

Anonymous said...

OMG, I am so sick of the "everyone does it" attitude that many of the posters have. Where are your statistics? Just because you may have driven drunk does not mean everyone has, nor does it mean that it makes it excusable. I have never and will never drive under the influence. I know others who have never and will never drive drunk. I guess it just depends on the kind of people with whom you hang out.

"LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE." I'm sorry, but this is BS! Do you aply this to just this case or everything and everyone? Should we not have laws? Should we not put drug dealers away? How about rapists?

There are rules and laws which we expect citizens to follow. This kid broke the law and in the end 5 members of a family paid the highest price - they are DEAD!

Did he mean to do it? Probably not.
Will this stay with him forever? Most likely.
Did he break the law? YES, he did.
Should he be punished? Yes, he should be.

Will anything good come of Gagnon supporters bitching on these message boards? No, it just makes people even more upset.

Lay off anonymous! Let the thread go.

Instead of shouting Biblical quotes at us - when the spirit to type this crap comes over you - go say a prayer for the children left without a mother, for the mother who lost her babies and for the fathers who lost their children.

Anonymous said...

I already have prayed for the living and the dead....must be you are perfect and have never made a mistake!! And yes I apply the quote to everything in my life...maybe you should too...are you god??? Are you judgeing??? Maybe you are the one who should LET GO!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... And yes I apply the quote to everything in my life...maybe you should too...are you god??? Are you judgeing??? ...
Monday, January 07, 2008 2:04:00 PM


I am trying to understand how people can be alright with what happened.

Do you truly believe that no person should judge another?

If someone committed a crime against you would you really be okay with that?

Should we not have any laws in this country?

Do you honestly and truly believe that we should apply the saying "LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE." to every and all events? If not - who gets to pick and choose?

I am not God, obviously, but neither are you and your God may not be the same god that I believe in.

I do believe that there have to be laws and that all citizens of this country need to abide by these laws. If they don't then there must be consequences.

If this case getting this attention and this person (Gagnon) being sent to jail can get just one person to think before they get behind the wheel drunk then maybe innocent people can be spared the fate of the Giffin/Burkeman family.

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked where I got my statistics...
From the United States Federal Government!
Here is the "Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2000". The report comes out every 10 years from the Department of Transportation. Look at page 2 of this 94-page report for yourself:

(copy and paste this on your browser, make sure you have Adobe PDF Reader)

http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/
DOT/NHTSA/
Communication%20&%20Consumer%20Information/
Articles/Associated%20Files/
EconomicImpact2000.pdf

Did you know around 250,000 Americans have now been killed in their cars since 9/11? It's true! Here's an article from the Los Angeles Times backing it up:

(copy and paste)

http://www.latimes.com/news/
opinion/
la-op-easterbrook5aug05,
0,1379980.story?
coll=la-opinion-center

*You may have a difficult time pasting these links due to limited space, so type it out verbatim if you have to*
Plenty of young, innocent women and children are getting slaughtered on a routine basis by our car-dependent society. Putting those backup spikes on "off-ramps" would be a small start towards working on such a massive societal problem.

Murders suck, their supporters suck worse! said...

This is to the anonymos asshole that thinks spouting Biblical quotes makes him better than everyone else. You forgot the most important one:

THOU SHALT NOT KILL!

Or...did you forget that one...??

Anonymous said...

FYI:

Just wanted to let people know, somebody gave the Gagnon's myspace address, then said later on that it was the wrong Michael Gagnon. I went throught that myspace, it is in fact his. I know he said he is from Toledo/26 yrs and he is from MI and 24 but you can post whatever you want for age or where you live. If you go through his myspace, partyboy has lots of comments about people meeting him at the Rodeo. I think he looks different right now b/c his hair is all down and not done as usual.

Anonymous said...

You idiots... Mike doesn't have a myspace. I know because I am a good friend.

Anonymous said...

Did you also know that.....on top of the fact that 250,000 + Americans have been killed in auto traffic collisions since 9-11, that President George Bush also has had a drunk driving conviction?? Vice-President Dick Cheney has had TWO drunk driving convictions. These two guys could have just as easily killed five people too, couldn't they?

andi said...

ewwww.........i hope he rots in prison, and then in hell!! I don't feel sorry 4 him...i got a dui and had a bac of .362....i am grateful everyday i did not kill someone...and if i had...i hope they would throw me in 4ever...no forgiving him...from some one who knows

mommagator said...

How can anyone who does not know Mike call him a punk bastard? He had multiple suspensions for failing to provide proof of registration and insurance. Not drunk driving, not multiple accidents or too many points. My son, who worked with Mike, asked me a good question. Why is alcohol even legal?!?!? With all the studies that have been done to show what can happen, and does happen when someone consumes alcohol. There are many drugs of choice out there and 99.9% are illeagal. But still alcohol is still legal. Anyone out there throwing stones ought to look at there own life and see if they are without guilt. Yes, I know what you're going to say. "This is different." No its not. He has to live with this the rest of his life. Do you people realize his family has received death threats? That is insane. True, but insane. Have any of you people ever had more than one drink and driven? Odds are you were over the legal limit and you could have killed someone. Stop being judge and jury. He will serve time. And rightfully so. Premeditated murder happens all the time and noone responds this way to it. Drug dealers kill all the time. Gang members kill for initation all the time. Stop being a lynch mob!! One person said tax payers shouldn't pay to support his murdering ass. Well, why don't you look in the prison system to see how many child molesters there are in there who are not in general population because of the threat to their lives. That person ruined lives of people who have to live with what was done to them. People make stupid choices every day. Choices that affect others. Choices everyone has to live with. Who is to say that Mike can't make a contribution to society? A positive solution. And how about Mikes family. Why are there people out there persicuting them? All they are doing is loving their son, brother, uncle, grandson, friend, etc. It does not mean they support what he did. This is a horrible tragedy NO ONE should ever have to go through. You don't have to agree with me, but again, ask yourself why alcohol is a legal drug.

Anonymous said...

Life in prison will be too good for this SOB and we can only HOPE that he will be torn apart and killed by fellow inmates as a child killer.

mommagator said...

Most of you sound like this was an intentional act to go out and murder someone. Look at the picture of him. He is NOT smiling, he is NOT joyous, he is NOT indifferent to the impact he has made on hundred of lives he has changed due to his decision to drive after drinking. Are any of you any better for wanting to have him murdered than he was for making a stupid choice? Yes, he had a choice. And now he and everyone involved have to live with that choice.

Anonymous said...

The baby was only 8 weeks, NOT 6 months. The bastard doesn't deserve life in prison...he deserves what he gave-killed in a car accident. I knew the mom, we shared emails about our kids. She didn't deserve this, nor did the kids. He needs to die the same horrible death...

Anonymous said...

mammagator-you want to know WHY people are persecuting Mike's family??? Because NO ONE took his GOD DAMNED keys from him...THAT'S why! It's enough that when we get into a vehicle SOBER that it is still a weapon, then put a dumb-ass KID in a vehicle without anyone doing anything? HELLOOO....the employees at Taco Bell should have done all they could to detain him and NOT let him out the doors. His friends should have kept a better eye on him, knowing how bloody drunk he was. The list goes on...

And NOW??? He's trying to plead NOT GUILTY??? WTF?

My saying comes true, yet again..."Once you're stupid, you're stuck with it"....

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, all you judgmentals...have any of you driven drunk??

mommagator said...

This is in answer to anonymous from January 18th. No one took the keys because they were locked inside the truck. He used the keyless entry on the door. But you still haven't said why his parents in Muskegon are being persicuted. For people like you, I hope and pray no one ever takes a drink of alcohol who knows you.
Mike's family did nothing wrong. Mike did. He WILL pay the price. One way or another. You scream he needs to die. But is one murderer any different than another?

Jason Starin said...

To mommagator:

This was Mike's second Alcohol offense. His first DUI appears to have been reduced to an MIP out of some sort of plea deal. As to blaming the family, they are the ones defending his actions here and across the internet in comments just like yours. Mike was an adult, was responsible for all of his actions and was belligerent at the crime scene, forcing rescue workers to attend to him and his antics instead of trying to save lives. As to calls for his death, they're a clear representation of a need for stiffer penalties involving drunk drivers. If the penalty for aggravated vehicular homicide were death, perhaps Michael would not have kept the opportunity to drive drunk so readily available.

Ohio still has a death penalty. It is my intention to insure that if it remains in force that it will eventually be applied to the same crimes Michael participated in.

mommagator said...

To Jason:
Not once have I said he did NOT need to pay for his crime. I would think that anyones family would try to protect their own. I'm also guessing you haven't read the press release from Mike's sister. Or maybe the from the grieving family that lost their loved ones. I have children. And they have both made bad choices. Thankfully they were the only ones who suffered from their actions. But it has NEVER meant that I did not love or support them. Mike made a life altering decision. Whether or not he was capable of making that choice is what seems to be debatable. Regardless, he will answer for his crime. But why is no one asking the question as to why alcohol is a legal drug? Most everyone I know, including myself, have over indulged. But it is a legal drug. So why not go after Budwiser, Miller, or Jim Beam or some other major alcohol supplier? Its easier to keep it legal and more profitable to higher ups, don't you think? Ever met an alcoholic? Before you start jumping on your high horse, look around you. Look at your friends, family and neighbors. Do you know anyone who is an alcoholic? Anyone who has ever had "one too many"? How about yourself? A jury of Mike's peers will see to it he is judged fairly. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you have never made a mistake that could have altered someones life for the worse, including your own or those that love you the most. Can everyone you know do that? I doubt it. No one I know can. And getting mad at everyone who supports Mike, does not mean that they condone what he has done.

Jason Starin said...

Read it, I cited it for her when she came onto another blog and rambled and ranted. Did you read it?

“The sudden and devastating loss of such innocent lives, those that did not have the chance to make much of an impact upon those outside of the immediate family, is a loss of unbearable tolerance. And for this, we are all truly at a standstill to you how we feel right now.”

"Did not have the chance to make much of an impact?"

"Unbearable tolerance?"

The first key in communication is a common language. This back-handed apology was absolutely criminal.

As to the legality of alcohol, it was tried. We have families like the Bushes and the Kennedy's in political office thanks to the currency and criminal activity that particular amendment produced.

Anonymous said...

But why is no one asking the question as to why alcohol is a legal drug?

So mommagator you are saying that because you and your "peers" can't control yourselves or be responsible enough to find a DD, alcohol should not be legal? I don't buy it.

Don't you think it is time to drop this line of reasoning?

The "everyone does it" excuse is lame. Not everyone drives drunk. I have NEVER done it. MY peers and I know better and make arrangements for nights when we may overindulge.

It sounds like you need to educate yourself on making good decisions.

Maybe, after Gagnon has served his time in jail, you can attend one of the presentations that will most likely be ordered by the court to attone for what he has done. That would be the best outcome of this situation - that others think twice after hearing how he killed most of a family on their Christmas holiday.

mommagator said...

Dear anonymous:
If I drink too much, I stay right where I am for the night. If I have to drive, I don't drink for at least 1 1/2 hours before I leave, and I make sure to eat and drink plenty of water. If that isn't an option I call for a ride. So don't judge me. Who are you to assume I haven't learned from mine and other peoples mistakes? We all are intitled to our opinions. Maybe part of Mike's sentence will be to go to school or other public forums to talk about the STUPID choice he made. I'm sure glad that there are "PERFECT" people out there to make damn sure the rest of humans are put in our place no matter how minor a mistake we make.
Now don't blow a gasket. I am not saying Mike's offense is minor. Not by a long shot. But again. Just because you (Jason) didn't like the sisters apology, doesn't mean the family isn't truly sorry for the loss. How is any family member supposed to react? The fact that they took the time to apologize instead of ignore the situation is commendable. Most victims don't hear from the guilty persons family, except to say their family member could never have done such a thing. No one has said that. Did you happen to read the comment by the father/husband of the victims? He said he didn't want to dwell on the sad. He wanted to focus on the future, and know that someday that they would be happy again. You don't hear that family cursing or crusifing the family of Michael Gagnon. So maybe we should all step back and take look at how that family can move forward and do the same. This situation is never going to be a win/win situation now is it?
And Jason, you condemn me for asking why alcohol is legal, yet you blamed someone else yourself.

Jason Starin said...

"But again. Just because you (Jason) didn't like the sisters apology, doesn't mean the family isn't truly sorry for the loss."

If the words are taken literally it isn't an apology at all. It basically says that Bethany and the girls don't matter because they didn't have much time to add anything to this world. Their death as an "unbearable tolerance" would mean it's something that is being tolerated but shouldn't be.

Try reading the actual apology before you spout off on something you actually know nothing about.

"How is any family member supposed to react?"

Condemn the actions of their killer for a brother/son/nephew/cousin, call for the maximum sentence possible and apologize for not stopping him when they could.



"The fact that they took the time to apologize instead of ignore the situation is commendable."

Actually it's a standard legal tactic to try to get the human side of the killer added into publications so they can be admitted as evidence a jury has to see. The apology is suspect even more when you add the advisement of Attorney "Rick" Sanders in these matters.

You aren't bothering to notice the actual details here. Michael's last DUI was reduced to Minor in Possession. The family was permissive of Michael's alcohol abuse and Samuel's Alcohol abuse as well.

Standing up and protecting Michael from the consequences of his actions supports more DUI's just like these.

By defending him you're being just as permissive. By attacking Alcohol instead of the actual criminal (Michael), you deny Michael's responsibility. He is fully responsible for these deaths.

mommagator said...

Jason,
I think you like to hear yourself. No one has said Michael doesn't need to be convicted. You use big words and try to turn things around. He is guilty. No doubt about it. But his family is not. The keys to the truck were locked in the truck. His sister, mother, father and some other family members live HOURS away from Toledo. Michael is 24 years old. Stop blaming parents. They have not said he is innocent. Its like you take the words others say and twist them to say what you want them to mean. And if his last DUI was reduced to an MIP, shame on the legal system. What was his blood alcohol content then? Do you know? Was it .02? Was it higher? Lower? Just curious. You have so many FACTS. You seem to have made yourself judge and jury of all I have said. Sorry if I offend you. Actually, that is a lie. I really don't care how you feel. I'm not here to judge. Just express my opinion and sympathy for everyone involved. Its a very sad situation for everyone. And yes, that includes Michael Gagnon. It doesn't matter how sorry he is(or isn't). People like you don't give a crap so long as its your way. I come from a family of alcoholism. I have seen more than I care to, as far as how devistating it can be. But you know what? I can't and won't judge you or anyone else for the actions they choose. I can be angry, sad, mad, glad, whatever. But at the end of the day, I am only responsible for what I contributed. I raised my kids to be kind and to please think of how what you do can affect the person next to you. Hopefully I touch someone in a good way. Its a sad day when the only thing left is to condemn. Don't you think?

Jason Starin said...

let me get this straight.

You come here and complain because someone calls Michael a "Punk Bastard," cry for sympathy for the Gagnon family because they have received death threats (not from me mind you nor do I condone it) and you don't think you're going to be a lightening rod for a little debate from one of Bethany and Dan's friends?

He killed people I loved and injured other people I love. His family comes out and spouts miserably weak and back handed apologies(for God's sake read the actual text and put yourself in the shoes of someone who lost someone and try and figure out why the fail so badly) and stands up for him in court, and sends Michael's Aunt to intervene with Danny at the fund raiser on Michael's behalf and I tell you, I have no sympathy left.

They are protecting him, coddling him, and they are failing in every sense of morality and justice.

Miserably failing.

Doubt me? Doubt that I have a personal grudge to grind in this matter? I have a personal reason to find every fact, every detail I can scrape together.

Nothing will bring them back, but burning Mike and everything that touches him might give a little bit of pause the next time a moron like him decides to get liquored up and go out for Taco Bell--and I mean in every legal way possible, not mob violence or vigilante justice.

Asking that the penalty for his crimes be increased to the death penalty might just freaking work too.

Don't blame the drink, but blame the criminal and everyone who helped him be one and escape one ounce of the pain and suffering he deserves.

Including you.

mommagator said...

Jason:
I am sorry you lost people you care about. I'm sorry you are so bitter towards everyone. Nothing anyone says or does is going to bring back those INNOCENT victims. But your anger and hatred are not the answer either. I don't have an answer. Thats not what this is about. I have NOT supported Mike's actions. But you are ready to hang me, because I am sorry for ALL the victims involved. Step back and take a deep breath and tell me you would alienate your loved one if they made a STUPID choice. Regardless of the end result. Yes, it was a choice. Yes it was a choice Mike made all by himself. Maybe one of his friends will think twice about drinking and driving. Maybe one of YOUR friends will think twice. My son worked with Mike. He cried when he read about the accident. He cried for the family and for Mike. Both families are facing losses that cannot ever be replaced. Sure, Mike is still alive. But his mom and dad can't touch him. They have so much sorrow to deal with but have no closure. And they won't have closure until THE END. I am not saying the families of the victims aren't filled with sorrow. More than I would ever wish on my worst enemy. Such a sad situation.

Jason Starin said...

Just to be perfectly clear, Mike's crime is still pending a rather long trial, and he'll be in court on Valentine's day continuing this garbage. Mike could have plead guilty, but he didn't. Wipe a little bit of the pity you have for Mike out of your eyes long enough to notice that MIKE, is still not taking responsibility for HIS actions and HIS family is helping him, even paying the bills of HIS attorney so he can do it. They can support him quietly, while they visit him in prison.

I'd actually be to the stage of sympathy for the family, "if" Mike was currently serving his term in prison after having plead GUILTY to this crime, and "if" his family weren't trying every trick in the book to get him out of even one day of punishment.

Until then, there's still a trial to seek CLOSURE for.

mommagator said...

Jason
To be perfectly clear, you are a very bitter person. That inside itself is unfortunate. Yes, you are angry. But you are angry at the wrong people. Yes, you should be angry at Mike. But not anyone else. If you had a child, you would do anything to protect that child. NO MATTER WHAT. That doesn't mean you accept what they did. Its called love. And don't go spouting off about how I condone what he did, because that is a lie. The only thing I have said is that his family is not responsible for his actions. And like it or not, they are not. Mike is an adult, who is of age to make his choices (good, bad, or ugly). Just because someone sympathizes with the family doesn't make them supportive of his actions. You don't need to forgive Mike, but you sure need to let go of the hatred because it is going to consume you. And you need to stop hating the people who knew a Mike that was just a regular guy. How about the kid who shot his entire family. Just a normal kid with normal parents in a normal neighborhood going to a normal school. Crazy shit happens. How about the guy who threw his 4 children off a bridge. He was not of an altered state of mind. He was just pissed off. And the guy who beat his 18 month old daughter to death because she spilled a drink on his Playstation. These are deliberate actions. These people will plead innocent. Big difference between premeditated and stupid actions. Regardless of Mike's plea, do you really think he won't get the max the jury thinks he deserves? Lets just say he gets the death penalty. Do you really think that solves anything? What is the lesson? Don't drink and drive. Thats obvious. But really. What is the lesson to all those people that do? If Mike is put to death, nobody will remember in a few years what he did. The families will remember, and most of the friends. But the life lesson will be forgot. Calm down for 2 minutes and give it some thought.

Jason Starin said...

You haven't been reading and you know next to nothing about this case. Mike cannot get the Death Penalty under current Ohio law. I'll take this anger and I'll push for Ohio law to be changed to make what Mike did a capital crime. A capital crime is one which you can receive capital punishment for--you know, the Death penalty?

His family was supportive and permissive of his behavior. They are still supportive and permissive of his behavior. Families just like Mike's are loading up another one for the road.

The guy who killed his 18 month old killed the child for something even worse. He gave the child an X-Box controller. When the child pulled on the cord, it caused the X-Box to fall. He killed her because in his own words, "He didn't have the money to pay to replace it."

He is worse than Mike. I freely admit that, but that guys family is not rushing to defend what he did. Mike's is.

Mike was in the truck. Mike was over the legal limit. Mike killed 5 people. Mike caused serious bodily harm with his truck to two others. That's 5 counts of Aggravated Vehicular Manslaughter (Aggravated because he had a DUI when he killed them with his truck) and 2 counts of Aggravated Assault (because he had a DUI when he tried to kill Beau and Dan with his truck).

He can get 10 years for each of the AVM charges to a maximum of 40 years. He can get 5 years each for the AA charges for a Maximum of 50 years. He should have plead guilty instantly and you and everyone in his family should know it.

GOP Sister said...

Bethany was my youngest sister. Haley, Lacie, Vadie and Jordan were my nieces. Every morning when I wake up, I think about them and how I'm never going to be able to talk to my sister again.

If Michael Gagnon got 500 years in prison, it wouldn't be enough. No amount of time is ever going to be enough.

Jason Starin said...

I think in my mind that these children will have children and maybe even grand children by the time Michael gets out.


I have to hope for that "distraction" because there is no other word for it.


But that's betting on the Justice system of Ohio.

Anonymous said...

Jason, good luck with your effort to make Gagnon's crime a capital punishment.

I have nothing but contempt for people like Gagnon and his offensively misguided family/friends. Get used to visiting that dirtbag at a correctional facility.

Anonymous said...

mommagator,

"Crazy shit happens."

Are you serious? God, you're a fucking idiot.

Anonymous said...

mommagator: "If you had a child, you would do anything to protect that child. NO MATTER WHAT. That doesn't mean you accept what they did. Its called love."

Not true...

16-year-old Joseph Nagle and 17-year-old Cheyenne Blanton tortured helpless, disabled 18-year-old Ashley Clark. Their family does not support them, despite the fact that they are still minors (unlike 24-year-old Michael Gagnon). On the contrary, they are hoping for "swift and severe" justice for Joseph and Cheyenne.

Joseph Nagle's father: "We are here today not to show support for Joe and Cheyenne but for Miss Clark and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We pray that they are all able to heal from this horrific ordeal and put their lives back together. As parents, we have done everything in our power to turn Joseph around, including mental health counseling, family therapy, incarceration and commitment to the Butler County Juvenile Behavioral Rehabilitation Program. It is our hope that justice for Joseph and Cheyenne is swift and severe."

Cheyenne Blanton mother: "Something needs to happen. They definitely don’t need to be walking the streets, that’s for sure. I’m still in shock. I’m still wanting to wake up I guess. It’s like a big nightmare to me."

http://pysih.com/2008/02/28/joseph-nagle-and-cheyenne-blanton/

Anonymous said...

NONE of you know him, do you think he would just get drunk and drive all the time??? NO!!! this was his first and last time, he made the biggest mistake of his life and he knows that.You can not judge him,only god can. you all cn rot in hell, god will forgive him.and thats all that matters.and get off of his families back, do you yhink they were fucking babysitting him all night???

Jason Starin said...

It was not his first time in trouble with the law with alcohol.

There are no "do-overs" in life when you kill 5 people.

One mistake is all it took for him to kill, he doesn't and should not get another chance to do the same.

Pleading not guilty and trying to suppress his drunkenness and the words he said while drunk are not the acts of a penitent man and penance is fairly specific to salvation.

When he pleads guilty and asks for the maximum sentence available, perhaps he can finally start on his path of salvation.

Until then, he is a monster.

Anonymous said...

I wish to bring everyone back to their youth. Can anyone say they haven't done anything that could have hurt themselves, or others? Can you remember on the swings in the playground? The slide? Did you EVER push, or shove? Have you ever been in the grocery store and been rolling your eyes at the elderly lady in front of you? I know you are going to say, "that is not the same" I am going to say to you, I GUARANTEE you that somewhere in your youth, something happened that you regret. Were you drunk? Perhaps not. Do you have regrets. Oh, yes, I bet there is something. Think Back. Making fun of the fat kid. Making jokes about the geeky girl in the lunch line with glasses? All I am saying is... When we are young, we THINK we are invinsible. This boy will be having regrets forever. You who can say that you have lived a perfect life, then you be the judge, or wait, I thought that was Gods job. Be careful who you pass judgement on...that is GOD'S job.

Jason Starin said...

1. You already knew this was coming, none of your analogies are an apple to this orange. Nothing you said is even close to comparable, and falls flat on its face as an argument. Other than that argument, you say nothing else.

2. Michael Gagnon was legally a man, he committed an adult crime, was prosecuted as an adult, and will pay for this crime as an adult. He wasn't 16, he wasn't 21, he was old enough to know better. For God's sake, his brother had a DUI in the same freaking truck a few months before.

3. Driving the wrong way on a Highway, running from the cops he knew were coming for him at Taco Bell, isn't merely a mistake, it's a proof of character.