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Judge imposes creative sentence on man who killed best friend

A recent editorial in the La Crosse Tribune made some interesting points about an unusual sentence recently handed down by a judge.

The case involves a man responsible for the death of his best friend. While it seems unlikely that he will forget the day of the crash that resulted in the death, a judge is helping him remember with reminders every year.

An investigation into the crash found that the surviving man was driving his BMW at 75 miles per hour in a 50 mph zone when he lost control of the car, crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided with a SUV.

His friend was killed. The driver was gravely injured, spending 17 days in a coma. The two people in the SUV were also seriously injured.

The driver of the BMW wound up recently pleading guilty to felony vehicular homicide and other charges.

Instead of sentencing him to years in prison, however, the judge imposed a sentence requiring him to spend a day in jail on the anniversary of the fatal car accident. He'll have to do that for the next 10 years.

His sentence also includes 60 days in jail that must be served immediately. He also loses his driver's license for 10 years.

The La Crosse newspaper notes that he must pay restitution to victims.

We expect that the amount to be paid to the seriously injured people in the SUV was negotiated by an attorney and could well include medical bills, future medical expenses and pain and suffering. Obviously, the family of the best friend could be compensated for the loss of both his income and his companionship, as well as any expenses related to the fatal crash.

While no amount of restitution will restore life or heal injuries, it will help victims cope with the financial damage caused by this tragedy.

Resource: Star Tribune: "La Crosse Tribune: Minnesota judge's sentence makes big impact": March 16, 2011

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