Friends, my heart is heavy as I write this post.
It's been just four days since a wonderful friend and neighbor of mine, Steve Lacey was killed by a drunk driver. The family left to pick up the pieces: lovely wife Nabila and two young children ages 7 and 5, Steve's parents and sister, and Nabila's parents and sisters– all innocent victims with their lives torn apart because someone chose to get drunk on a Sunday and get behind the wheel.
I was with Nabila at her home that day, probably during the time the accident occurred– but of course we had no idea. I remember asking where Steve was and Nabila cheerfully replied (the woman is always cheerful) that he was at Costco getting Mexican Coke and bananas. Time ticked by and she hadn't heard from her husband. I remarked that he was probably picking up her birthday gift (Nabila's birthday is next week).
Meanwhile my son and her son– best buddies– played away. I finally grabbed Max late that afternoon to do some errands. Now all I can think is Why couldn't I have waited a few minutes longer? Then I would have been by her side when the police car pulled up. When the minutes felt like days. When the Chaplin arrived and walked up to the door. And when my sweet friend's life and the lives of her babies changed forever.
I am so deeply saddened. I feel like someone punched me straight in the heart and I am not alone. In the hours and days after the accident, our street and community (all over the world) have come together to support Nabila and the kids. This tragedy is literally too close to home. We all go on little errands for our families. We all assume we have much more time.
It's incredible how you can know people, like people, share a smile and a quick chat– and then something like this happens and you get to see a part of them that's simply amazing. The strength, thoughtfulness, and generosity of the Lacey family's friends is heartening. It's like a mountain made out of love built for this little family and I believe it's the reason why they are getting through these awful times.
Meanwhile, the suspect who got wasted (3x the legal limit), put himself behind the wheel of a car, allegedly got embroiled in a road rage incident (with some unknown individual) and decided to drive off a highway exit at high speed and slam into my friend– is left to live his life. Under Washington state's DUI Laws, the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison. The sentence in this state for Murder 1 or Murder 2 is 12-20 years.
How does that make sense? If a person got drunk, walked into a public place, and shot and killed a random person– it's up to 20 years in jail. If an intoxicated person gets behind the wheel and their weapon is a car– the maximum sentence is 5. The sentencing for this crime does NOT make sense. That's my painful realization.
Please keep my friends in your thoughts and prayers. A wife is has been robbed of her best friend and husband. A son and a daughter have been cheated out of a lifetime with a loving father. This preventable tragedy could have happened to any of us.
For more information on Steve you can visit his memorial page on Facebook.
Thanks for your support.