We all know that texting while driving is bad and dangerous. In many places, it's also illegal. Of course, that doesn't stop people from doing it, and one dad in Ohio is facing criminal charges for a split second decision that ended the life of his daughter.
Jonathan Harp of Lima, Ohio may go to prison for a year after he pleaded guilty to attempted vehicular homicide. The father of two daughters, both of whom were in the car, was allegedly going 55 miles an hour when he slammed into the back of a pick-up truck. Though he denied it at first, he later admitted he was texting. According to WHIOTV:
The impact of the crash caused his car to bounce in another lane and hit a third vehicle. Harp's daughter Macy died in the crash and his 7-year-old daughter Shannon was seriously injured.
It should serve as a reminder to us all.
Believe me, I know that the comments on this piece will all claim that they don't text and drive. They will all say that they're so much better than Harp and whatever else. But I won't. I will be honest.
I have texted while driving. I try not to, certainly, and I usually wait until I'm stopped, especially now that it's illegal. But I have done it. And I have also almost hit someone from behind. I can completely imagine how this could happen. He could have been in a rush, texting his wife to tell her to pick up groceries so he could start dinner (or some other scenario), and he made a bad decision in an instant that killed his child.
It was stupid and irresponsible and, yes, it was illegal, too. But his 7-year-old daughter is in critical condition. She may not make it either. Assuming he has a wife, both his wife and daughter need him to not be in prison. Personally, if that were me (and thank god it isn't), there is no punishment that the state could hand me that would be worse than the guilt. I am not even sure I could survive it.
Assuming this man loved his daughters, then I'm not sure jail time is appropriate. He ought to lose his license and be forced to educate others. Certainly his story, however brief, has made me look at my own habits a little more closely. No, I would likely not text with my children in the car while going 55 MPH, but I highly doubt that he intended to kill anyone. It was a dumb, horrible mistake and he will pay for it in a million ways. Jail time can't make it any worse.
Do you think he should go to jail?
Image via mrJasonWeaver/Flickr