Archived Story

Punishment should fit the crime

Published 2:07pm Friday, November 30, 2012

Not only does the punishment not fit the crime, it also shows a glaring weakness in Ohio’s laws.

Christopher Haines, 32, of Oak Hill, was sentenced to just short of five years — with credit for the nearly two years served — for the aggravated vehicular homicide of 10-year-old Angel McGinnis of South Point. Anyone who doubts the dangers of texting while driving need look no farther than this tragic crash.

Haines rear-ended the vehicle in which the child was riding because he was reading a text message. Although Ohio recently made this illegal, the penalties may not be strict enough.

Making matters worse is that a plea bargain reduced the severity of the felony charges and drastically cut the amount of possible prison time. The sentence could’ve been 26 years.

As Ohio Attorney Gen. Mike DeWine said, “No text messages is worth a life. Drivers should remember Angel McGinnis any time they think about concentrating on their phones instead of their driving.” We couldn’t agree more.

Nothing can bring Angel back or erase her family’s suffering but legislators should think about ensuring that the laws and the punishment match the crime.


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  • Poor Richard

    No, Mickakers, it was not an accident, an accident is some mishap that could not be helped. Every driver has one job when operating a vehicle – to pay attention to the road but like most people on the road today, regardless of the laws that were recently passed in Ohio, Mr. Haines had his head stuck in his cell phone rather than paying attention to the road. The punishment did not fit the crime – he killed someone due to negligence – that is not an accident.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    I find this editorial a bit immature. This was not a crime but a horrible accident. There was no intent involved. My heart goes out to the McGinnis and Haines families. They have both suffered enough. Mr. Haines will live with this for the rest of his life, that is punishment enough. My compliments and admiration to the McGinnis family for their agreement with the plea bargaining.

    (Report comment)

  • Poor Richard

    Each time I drive Route 7 (the 4-lane) toIironton from Chesapeake there are drivers in the left hand lane that will not move out of the way. Some drive far less than 55 MPH holding up traffic and generally have a string of vehicles behind them. Most are from Kentucky and quite honestly I would like to see KY drivers get to Huntington some other way than Route 7 – such annoyances. Each time I finally get around one of these idiots – you guessed it – they are on their cell phone. Obviously they are incapable of talking and driving at the same time.

    Texting is bad, talking on the cell phone while driving is bad, and especially drunk driving is bad. Drunk drivers probably kill more people in the US than any other reason but yet we have quite a few running around free in this county after they killed someone. So, whether drunk drivers, cell phone talkers or texters, if they kill or hurt someone due to their addictions, they should go to prison for a very, very LONG TIME!

    (Report comment)

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