While watching "In Session" this morning I heard about an unbelievable DUI story in Florida, and I had to find out more.
On October 28, 2007 Amir Sarhaddi had been out with his wife. While heading home around 3 a.m. they witnessed a drunk James Braley hit a jeep from behind on the interstate. In a split second Mr. Sarhaddi made the decision to pull over and see what he could do to help. Mr. Braley's vehicle was stalled in the middle of the road. As Mrs. Sarhaddi waited in the car, her husband rushed to see if he could help Mr. Braley, only to be hit by twenty-six year old Jessica Paquette. Jessica Paquette was also drunk.
Jessica Paquette was sentenced to 5 years, and James Braley was also charged with DUI manslaughter as well as DUI property damage. It was argued that if Mr. Braley would not have hit the jeep, and had the accident then Mr. Sarhaddi would not have stopped to try to help. Sounds reasonable to me, but the jury only convicted him of DUI property damage. They reasoned that he made the conscious decision to pull over which removed he and his wife from harm's way.
Here's the kicker....not only was Mr. Braley and Ms. Paquette inebriated, but Mr. Sarhaddi was also impaired!! The jury was not allowed to hear that info, and they all said afterwards that it wouldn't have influenced their decision. I honestly can say it would not have influenced me one way or the other. He may have been impaired, but he died trying to do a noble thing.
No winners here for sure....Mr. Braley said he didn't feel responsible for Mr Sarhaddi's death, but surely it weighs on him that he was part of the whole scenario. Ms. Paquette has to live with the fact she hit and killed a man, but the real losers are the children. Ms. Paquette had to leave her small son to serve her time in prison, and Mr. Sarhaddi left behind an eleven year old daughter and eight year old son.