Jan 1, 2008

Faces From a Tragedy

The Griffin family of Parkville, MD: Danny Griffin, Jr., Bethany Griffin, Jordan Griffin, Lacie Burkman, Haley Burkman, Vadie Griffin, Sidney Griffin, and Beau Burkman(Toledo, OH) I have thought often over the last two days about the Griffin family of Parkville, MD, five members of which were killed by a drunk driver in a horrific accident on I-280 in Toledo Sunday night. Photos of the victims and the perpetrator of this tragedy have been released by family members and Toledo police, and we now can put faces to the names of the individuals.

As a parent, I just cannot fathom the pain and sorrow the surviving family members must be feeling over their losses. As a citizen of Toledo, I am saddened that this beautiful family had to be so traumatized just a few miles from my home.

In a way, I almost feel as though the Toledo area has some connection to these folks beyond being simply the scene of carnage and death, and I hope that Toledoans will join me in contributing to a fund for the family (details forthcoming).

Drunk driver Michael P. Gagnon, 24, of Adrian, MI, who was charged with five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide Then, of course, we have the image of the much reviled Michael P. Gagnon, of Adrian, MI, the drunken imbecile whose wrong-way rampage on an interstate ended in the deaths of these innocent people.

Gagnon, described as "uncooperative and belligerent" when he spoke with police yesterday, managed to survive the crash with only minimal injuries, and was observed by accident witnesses walking around and complaining of jaw pain at the scene late Sunday night.

One can only hope that justice will find a way to serve itself on this repugnant human specimen, and that this senseless tragedy will serve some as yet unknown higher purpose.

And, Mr. Gagnon? I suggest that you at least learn how to fake remorse before your court dates, as belligerence does not play well with most judges. If you ever find your way out of prison in a few decades, I also suggest that you move far, far away, as your name will likely be anathema for many years to come 'round here.


Anonymous said...

u dont know Michael G and this could've happened to anyone who are u to judge him you worthless piece of shit!!!!

historymike said...

Aw, shucks, Anonymous! How about telling us all about the kinder, sensitive, hidden sides of Michael P. Gagnon.

You see, all we get from the mainstream media is a picture of self-absorbed, drunken asshole who killed an entire family.

A few extra thoughts for the Michael P. Gagnon fan club members:

1. No, causing such an accident could not have "happened to anyone," as most drivers are reponsible and don't drive drunk, let alone 60 mph the wrong way on a freeway.

2. Gagnon brought all of this upon himself, and I have no sympathy for him.

3. I may, indeed, be a "worthless piece of shit," as you so describe, but I at the very least do not put others at risk with a 0.254 BAC on the freeways. In fact, as someone who completely eschews intoxicants (let alone DWI), the chance that I will also cause a fatal traffic accident in an inebriated state is essentially nil.

4. Oops, sory for the big words above. I forgot that you are probably some rusty-trailer-dwelling, moonshine-swilling, inbred moron. I'll put the above in easy-to-read words: " I MAY BE A PIECE OF SHIT, AS Y'ALL CALLED ME, BUT I SHORE DON'T DRINK OR USE DRUGS, SO'S I CAIN'T EVER CAUSE NO ACCIDENT LIKE MIKEY DONE DID."

5. FOAD, and go cry over at the county jail to Gagnon. Better still, be sure to show up in court in his defense, as he has so far shown no remorse for his actions.

Mary said...

History Mike, I couldn't have said it better myself to that fool, Anonymys!! Michael Gagnon is a cold blooded killer; his weapon of choice being his vehicle. Because of his selfishness, he ripped an entire family apart, something that was totally PREVENTABLE. Could have happened to anyone he says?? Not any reasonable and responsible person with even HALF a brain. Anonymous, both you and Michael G as you call him, SICKEN me!!

me said...

I am with you mike. A person who chooses to get so drunk they are 3 more then 3 times the legal limit, then hop in their car and drive down the wrong side of the road (either side for that matter), well they deserved to be judged. Especially when their selfish screwed up actions cause 5 deaths.

So yeah....being judged....this person deserves it and much more.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the defenders of Michael would be willing to go in front of the friends and family of the murdered family and tell them they are worthless pieces of shits for judging the drunk jerk.

Anonymous said...


Is there a fund in Toledo to donate to the family?

Robin said...

All of my sympathy goes to the Griffin family. Michael Gagnon deserves none.

engineer of knowledge said...

Hello Mike,
As you know I am from Maryland.
The family was from Baltimore, MD and we are getting a lot of coverage on the local TV news on this sad event.

Barb said...

I have been frightened by harsh penalties for sober drivers who make a fatal mistake. No data right now --but just some recollections of people who have caused deaths and gone to jail for it. I think THAT COULD happen to anybody --and jail isn't always the penalty, but seems to me that it has been in some cases not involving alcohol.

What an awful thing to live with --killing someone by accident.

Drinking itself is a very big social/medical problem these days --but all we hear about is the cigarettes right now. How much divorce and family trama is caused by drinking? too much.

FatBabe44 said...

HistoryMike, you said it all for all of us. That despicable piece of drunken shit should spend the rest of his natural life in prison.

While in prison, he should be put to work cleaning the other prisoners' toilets.

My heart aches for the family left behind after this tragedy. Thank you for providing a means to help the family on behalf of Toledo.

fatbabe44 said...

I forgot to mention that this young man at Taco Bell that called the police should be commended, praised, and given a huge raise for taking the initiative.

I think the police should use this situation in when doing public relations gigs in all the high schools. Preach to the kids to make that phone call - it could save lives!

FatBabe_again said...

The LOSER drunk has a myspace account. I found it on a news website out of Grand Rapids, MI where people were commenting on this GAGnon asshole.


Rachel said...

im michaels cousin and i know ya'll are mad and hurt at what my cousin has done and he doesnt even remember it happening ya'll only know what you hear on the media you dont know everything, he was extremely intoxicated and had nobody to tell him not to leave. you make it to sound like he intentionally killed this family, well what if there was only 1 or 2 people in the vehicle, you wouldnt be making such a big deal out of it and it should make no difference. i agree, my cousin deserves to go to jail, but what he really needs it help! and i have talked to friends of the family and they do not wish harm on michael, besides only God can judge him, so you have NO say in this unless you are Him.

MaumeeMom said...

Rachel, I'm sure that this was unintentional but I do not believe that if it were just one or two people that the public would not be upset. I am sure that Michael is remorseful but that cannot turn back time. I hope that he serves time in prison but that he uses that time wisely - to get more education, to educate others on the dangers of drunk driving, etc.

As citizens, we do have a say and will be judging him, unless he gives up his right to a jury trial, that is how the system is set up.

The crash was horrible and 5 lives were lost. The image of that infant carrier is burned into many memories.

It wasn't just two families touched by this tragedy - can you imagine how the rescue workers feel, not being able to save the baby? Picking up small bodies from the wreckage? The doctors working to save the lives of the survivors? The police officer who missed him by the Taco Bell? All these lives are forever changed because of Michael's choices.

Mary said...

To Michael's cousin: He DID intentionally kill five people, his weapon of choice being a vehicle. How dare you say if he killed two people the public wouldn't be outraged?? If it was ONE innocent life lost by some drunk, it is still tragic all in the same. And is your cousing not an adult?? An adult who has taken driving classes and KNOWS the dangers of drunk driving and did it anyway?? You say he had no one to tell him not to leave? I am sorry, I thought he was 24, not 2! The public has a right to be protected from ALL people like him, and I think it's unfortunate that he lived and that family died!!! It's not the time to be DEFENDING him!!!!

Sarah said...

I feel very sad for ALL of the victim's families including the killer's. They will be victims of a lot of anger and hatred for their son's despicable act. Don't take it out on them. I'm sorry Rachel; this must be a difficult time for you. May God grant peace to everyone affected by this tragedy. I bawled my eyes out.

Montana said...

As a recovering drunk, I thank you HistoryMike for this blog and your tribute to that lovely family that was wiped out by that moron. Wonder what was so urgent that asshole couldn't wait for his ride?

LuLu said...

Rachel, I don't know if you are 10 years old, or just stupid, but until you grow up mentally, you should probably resist the urge to post message with the adults. Michael is an adult...he shouldn't have needed anyone standing over his shoulder telling him not to get into the truck. That was a decision he made all on his own. It's his own fault he got that drunk, it's his own fault he got behind the wheel of the truck, it's his own fault he was driving the wrong way on the interstate and it's HIS OWN DAMED FAULT THAT 4 CHILDREN AND THEIR MOTHER ARE DEAD! There was an entire family in that car, and your beloved, selfish, drunken, asshole of a cousin saw fit to kill most of them in one night.

Have you seen the pictures from the accident Rachel? Did you see the picture of that 2 month old baby girls car seat sitting in the middle of 280 with all the pink blankets strewn about? Did you see the childrens Christmas present scattered all over the side of the highway....you know...the ones that spilled out when your wonderful cousins truck ripped the side off their van like a sardine can? Did you see those pictures Rachel?

Did you see the picture of the family at the top of the page? You've talked to friends of "the" family and they don't wish harm on Michael? Are you drunk too? Do you honestly believe that those people wouldn't like to see very, very bad thinks happen to your spectacularly retarded cousin? Come on now Rachel...you can't be that nieve....can you?? You think Michael deserves to go to jail huh? Really? Cause to me that seems like letting him off easy. Bethany Griffin will never be able to raise her children. She'll never go to another school play...or help another child with their homework. She'll never get to help them get ready for their first date. Or get ready for prom. Or watch them get married. Or love her Grandchildren. You know why? Because your wonderful cousin Mike killed her. See the kids in the picture at the top? See Jordan, Lacie and Haley? Those children will never know what it's like to go on a first date. Or go to a prom. Or find true love and get married. Or have children of their own. You know why? Because your spectacularly idiotic cousin killed them. And, Vadi...remember them mentioning her? She was the one that belonged in the car seat that they found sitting in the middle of the interstate...you know, the one with all the little pink blankets hanging out of it? Yeah, you know the one I'm talking about...the 8 week old baby girl. Yeah that one. Well, she'll never even know what it's like to taste solid food! No one will ever see the look of suprise on her face the first time she discovers her toes! She'll never learn to walk! She'll never say her first words...hell, she'll never even see her first birthday!! AND DO YOU KNOW WHY?!?! BECAUSE YOUR SELFISH, DRUNKEN, PRICK OF A COUSIN KILLED HER TOO!!!! Michael deserve to go to jail? And actually live out the rest of his life? The people he murdered on the intersate don't get to finish their lives...why should Mike? Unfortunatley I don't believe there's a death penalty attached too his charges, but with any luck, if he actually has a heart and soul and feels any remorse at all that is, the guilt will eat at him for the rest of his miserable, pathetic, murdering life and completely destroy him. Mentally, emotionally, finiancially, I hope he stays in a living hell for the rest of his life because of what he's done to that poor family. Those he killed and those he left behind to suffer from the loss. And most of all, I hope he rots in hell.

Maybe one of these days when you grow up, and have children of your own that you would protect with your life...or God forbid, some drunken asshole kills half YOUR family...you'll understand the reactions of most of the people in the world to your cousins murders.

LuLu said...

Oh and for fatbabe44:

you said...
"I forgot to mention that this young man at Taco Bell that called the police should be commended, praised, and given a huge raise for taking the initiative."

I called Taco Bell's corporate office the morning after this accident and they had no idea what I was talking about. I had to relay to them what I had seen on the news and they asked for the exact store so they could get in contact with him. I don't know what they plan to do, but they were extremely grateful that I brought it to their attention and I'm hopeful that the boy that called will at the least get a thank you from them. It was very smart of him to call the police and at least TRY to get this asshole off the road, and although the police couldn't get there in time and this horrible thing happened, I think he deserves to know that he's a hero for at least doing the right thing by recgonizing the danger and trying to do what he could to stop it.

Jacob, if you ever see this, just know that no matter what happened the other night, it's not your fault, it's Michael Gagnon's fault and his alone. You did the right thing by calling the police and trying to get him off the road, and for that alone, you are a hero.

Robin said...

I wonder if anonymous #1 and rachel are the same person?

I'm thinking that if Michael Gagnon had only killed one person, that night, we would still be outraged. Some people just don't understand. You don't have the right to drive drunk! And, yes, it is obvious that he needs help... too bad you couldn't speak up and tell him that before he drove that truck down the wrong way of the highway while extremely intoxicated.

fatbabe44 said...

LuLu, thank you for taking the time to call Taco Bell Corporate. You are brilliant! Yes, let's hope they give that bright young man the attention or credit he deserves for trying to prevent a tragedy. Awesome!

LuLu said...

*lol* Not brilliant, just a mother of 2 who used to work at Taco Bell and delt with my share of drunks at the drive thru.

As far as the MySpace address that was posted, the person on that MySpace page is the wrong guy. The Michael Gagnon that killed this family is from Michigan and is 24 years old and here is a picture of him taken in court recently:


The person who's MySpace URL you posted is a man from Toledo, Ohio who is 26 and if you look at the pictures posted you'll see he looks nothing like the person who caused the accident. The news website you got it from must be mistaken. Just wanted to let people know before they started harassing the wrong man because of a case of mistaken idenity. :\ This drunken ass has caused enough grief for enough people for one life time, I just don't want to see the wrong man harassed over another mans horrible mistake.

Jason Starin said...


I'm a friend of the Deceased as well as Dan Griffin and I want your cousin to serve the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of parole or leniency.

As to God being his only judge, I assure you that the Bible in no way suggests secular courts cannot judge him and convict him for crimes and the Ohio State penal code agrees with me. If that were true, Jesus would have pardoned the two thieves instead of trying to convert them.

The family, including your Cousin's wife, who continuously posts anonymously need to get this through your thick skulls. You're not going to make anything better by defending Michael. Bethany, Vadie, Lacey, Haley and Jordan were worth more than Michael could have ever become. The people who loved them may eventually forgive Michael for what he did, but they will and never should forget that his crime was willful and not an accident.

Hockeydino said...

Rachel and anonymous,
As a personal friend to the families that died at the hands of the drunk driver I say this to you: SHUT UP

We don't care what kind of person he his/was/or will be. We don't care about the half ass apologies that mean NOTHING to us. We don't care that you are all over the internet trying to defend the character of someone who killed people.

I am not sure what is more lame, the fact you are defending him, or the fact you are enablers. Yes YOU and your friends allowed him to have keys in his pocket. He is responsible for the accident. YOU are responsible for him.

You make me sick.

again, SHUT UP.

Anonymous said...

You guys crack me up. You are ready to crucify a 24 year old kid who made the wrong choice. I feel sad for the family that died but lets get to the bottom of this. They should have had a device in all cars by now that wont let the driver drive while drunk. The family would still be alive and mike g would still have his life. But no you think they would do this how would the greedy lawyers get fat and be able to afford their cocktails. Also why you want to hang Mike. Hang all the crackheads and crack dealers who kill alot more and destroy alot more families than this gagnon fellow. Nope you wont demand justice for that right just turn a blind eye. Dont act like you people never drank or made a mistake.People shouldnt be allowed to drink till like 27 anyhow. What did any of you know in your 20s nothing I bet. Also since your all great judges I hope the lord Judges you for the great saints you were and hands you a good sentence have a nice day

Jason Starin said...

There are no 24 year-old kids. He's been a legal adult for 6 years, and of full drinking age for at least 3 years.

His choices were to get too inebriated and to drive drunk.

He's not alone in these decisions.

Over 50% of all fatal highway crashes involving two or more cars are alcohol related.
Over 65% of all fatal single car crashes are alcohol related.
Over 36% percent of all adult pedestrian accidents are alcohol related.
80% of all fatal alcohol related auto crashes occur between 8 pm and 8 am.
36% of all adult pedestrian accidents involve an intoxicated pedestrian.

The drunk ignition system doesn't work. The drunk just gets someone else to blow in the pipe for them.

What might work is treating drunk driving as severely as 1st degree murder. If you drive drunk and kill someone, you will die is a far more poignant message than you might lose your license unless you hire Rick Sanders.

As to the continuous stream of lies about God's advocacy on judging read the passage for yourself.
Let the first without sin cast the first sin is in regards to an Adulteress brought forward by the Pharisees to trick Christ into condemning her.

It doesn't mean Christ didn't allow anyone to be condemned by worldly authorities and judges. He wanted people to help keep the money changers out of the temple. He did not pardon the physical bodies of the two thieves crucified with him.

Pick up your bible and read it for yourself, before you misrepresent it.

Anonymous said...

get a life your all losers, you don't know him and have nothing to do with the situation, you fucking BITCHES

Jason Starin said...

I never wanted to even know who he was. It was entirely his choice, his decision to drink, imbibe and smoke his way into oblivion and then drive in that state. He killed my friend.
Here's a deal, you give me back Bethany and the girls, unharmed and unhurt, heal Danny's injuries and make it all better for Sydney, Beau, Brett, Jack, Jodie, and a host of other family and friends, and I'll leave him alone.

Too tall an order for you?

Hockeydino said...

Thanks Mike

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

To the "anonymous" with such colorful language: Shut the **** up.
My family just lost loved ones to a repeat drunk driver and the drunk's family has just as much audacity to call us names for wanting justice.
Do you realize how stupid you sound when you post the things you post?
I suppose you wouldn't realize that since you're too busy being proponents of mass murder.
If Gagnon had been killed by a drunk driver, I highly doubt you would be posting the highly moronic "do not judge" crap. My guess is that you would demand justice, even the death penalty for the offender.
To all the mean, coldhearted supporters of drunk drivers who believe they should be above the law, you sound like ignorant, moronic assholes. Stop saying only God can judge them. Your beloved murderers played God in a hell of a lot more sinful fashion than those of us who have and state opinions about the low-life pieces of shit you defend.

Anonymous said...

I think all of you should spend more time doing productive activities instead of using someone elses tragedy as an excuse to fight over the internet. Most of these comments come from people who did not know the Griffin or the Gagnon family. Stay the fuck out of it you drama seeking freaks!