In November 2007, Faith Vadren-Carberry was riding in a car with her mother, Mary Carberry, her brother, John, her sister, Ava, 6, and her friend, Michaela Logan, 9. Mary, a chronic alcoholic who had interrupted her pub crawl to go pick up the kids from school, "blacked out" as the car plunged into an embankment. Ava and Michaela were killed; Faith was left seriously injured both physically and emotionally.
Mary spent just four years in jail, and Faith, now 12, didn't believe that sent a strong enough punishment. So with the help of her grandfather, she sued both her mother and her father, Thomas Varden, who provided the car to Mary, even though she had been banned from driving due to previous drunk driving arrests.
While it's not the first time a child has sued a parent, it's one of the most justifiable cases I've seen. Good for Faith, and good for her grandfather for standing beside her even though it meant going against his own daughter.
Children place their health and safety into the hands of their parents and trust that they will protect them, but sadly they don't always do so. While as adults, we can refuse to get into a car with someone who is intoxicated, kids don't always have that choice or ability, and it's heartbreaking. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of the children killed in car accidents were riding with drunk drivers.
As for her father, he wasn't in the car at the time, but I understand her suing him as well, because he knew of Mary's alcohol problems, knew she would drive the kids in the car, and bought her the car anyway. He should have instead made sure his children were safe and not left in the care of someone who clearly couldn't care for them.
While the case was settled against her parents yesterday, the terms weren't released, and now the case will continue against the Motor Insurer's Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) -- the organization that compensates the victims of uninsured drivers in Ireland where the incident occurred.
No amount of money can undo what happened on that fateful day, bring those innocent children back, or make up for the losses Faith suffered. However, it can perhaps provide her with some sense of justice and send a message that many other parents need to hear about what can happen when you choose to drink and drive, especially with children in the car.
Do you think it was right for this girl to sue her parents?
Image via Mel B./Flickr