Jury gives justice to sex abuse victim – while hospital pretends it never happened

Anesthesiologist Fred Field, MD, sexually assaulted at least 12 women at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. His victims were drugged, unconscious or semi-conscious during the assaults.

It is likely Field sexually assaulted many other women—who may not know, or understand, what happened to them. Nationally, it is estimated that more than 60% of women who are sexually assaulted do not come forward out of shame or fear.

This is one victim’s story. To protect her privacy, she is identified here as “L”.

“L” was a surgical patient at Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC), a hospital in The Dalles, Oregon. After her surgery, she had a severe spinal headache. She went back to the hospital for a procedure called a blood patch to alleviate her pain.

The anesthesiologist that participated in her surgery would also take part in the blood patch procedure. That anesthesiologist was Fred Field.

L was sedated, incapacitated and vulnerable. While she was under the influence of anesthesia, Field sexually abused her.

During the procedure, L started to come out of anesthesia while Field was sexually abusing her. Field realized she was becoming conscious, and quickly put her back under.

L remembered Field’s assault, but the affects of the anesthesia made her uncertain: she did not know if it was a terrible dream.

She told a nurse what she remembered. But L was hesitant to accuse the doctor; she did not want to falsely accuse someone of a serious crime.

L wasn’t only a patient: she was also a nurse at MCMC. She was afraid of losing her job.

MCMC wasn’t just a hospital to her, but also a workplace and home-away-from-home. She trusted her colleagues and the doctors that worked at the hospital. And because of that trust, L told herself that what she remembered must not have happened.

L didn’t know that she wasn’t alone. Other patients had accused Field of assault, too.

Safe haven for a sex abuser

By the time of L’s assault, Field had been assaulting women under anesthesia at MCMC—and sexually harassing hospital staff—for at least three years.

There had been multiple patient and staff complaints of sexual abuse and harassment by Field.

You would think that the hospital would take such allegations very seriously. The primary concern of any hospital is patient safety.

You would think the hospital administration would do everything possible to protect their patients, their staff, and their reputation.

The hospital did nothing.

Instead of listening to women who reported sexual abuse, hospital administrators and staff told the patients they had been “hallucinating” because of the drugs.

Instead of contacting police to investigate serious felony sexual assaults, the hospital had only internal “investigations.” These investigations, done by Field’s colleagues and friends, did not seek truth, but exoneration.

Instead of protecting patients, the hospital protected a serial sex abuser.

Denying and Defending

Field’s abuses were not a secret in his four years at Mid-Columbia Medical Center.

D’Amore Law Group represented several women that MCMC allowed Field to sexually assault. We counted at least 20 people in hospital staff and administration who admitted to knowing or at least suspecting his behavior.

L was not the first victim to file a lawsuit. Several women have won verdicts against Field and MCMC. Several others have settled out of court.

MCMC refused to even attempt to settle L’s case, and spare her the pain and humiliation of a public trial.

The Dalles is a small, close-knit city of around 15,000 people in Wasco County, Oregon. Several of the victims live there.

In a public courtroom, in her hometown, L faced very personal attacks by MCMC and their lawyers. They asked degrading questions and tried to humiliate L and the other victims who came to trial to testify on her behalf.

In 2012, Field pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and 1 count of first-degree rape. He is serving a 23-year jail sentence.

Yet, they refused to admit that any sexual assault, of any woman, had actually occurred.

MCMC’s lawyers proceeded to defend the hospital administration’s inexcusable “investigations” and incredibly incompetent handling of victim complaints.

MCMC acknowledged ­that Field had pleaded guilty, and was convicted.

They defended the very actions that had exposed all of these women to a dangerous sexual predator.

It was a shameful display by the hospital and their attorneys.

Jury sends a message to the hospital

Last week, at the end of L’s month-long trial against MCMC, the Wasco County, Oregon, jury came to a decision.

The jury concluded that the hospital was negligent. The hospital’s behavior was so offensive, and the hospital administration had failed so badly, that jurors felt an additional punishment was warranted.

The jury found by “clear and convincing evidence” that the hospital acted with a reckless, outrageous, and conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.

The jurors awarded $800,000 in compensatory damages, and another $150,000 in punitive damages – basically, a fine meant to punish the hospital.

With this verdict, the jury sent a message to the hospital administration: you are responsible for patient safety, and the hospital administration has failed miserably in protecting patients.

Sex abusers often seek out victims where they are most vulnerable—in places like hospitals. It is the hospital’s job to safeguard against this abuse.

Yet, the hospital boldly asserted at trial that it has not changed its procedures. No one has been fired. No one has been punished.

This verdict was intended to send a message to MCMC.

We hope that it will cause the hospital’s Board of Directors to reevaluate the administration and their commitment to public safety.

Let’s hope MCMC gets the message.

 

 

L was represented at trial by Attorneys Tom D’Amore and Nick Kahl of D’Amore Law Group.

See news and articles about the sexual abuse lawsuit and trial.

Questions or inquiries: please contact the firm at 503-222-6333.

 

Are these guardrails safe? A flawed government investigation into Trinity Industries

Imagine you’re driving along an Oregon highway, headed home after a long day. It’s getting dark outside, and a light rain is falling.  

In your rearview mirror, you see the lights of a truck in the next lane swerve … then you feel the sharp impact against the side of your car.

The force of the impact makes your tires skid. You veer to the side and strike the end of a guardrail.

What happens to you in this scenario? Do you walk away? Does the guardrail severe your legs?

It depends on the guardrail end.

Guardrails are meant to keep vehicles on the road, and lessen the impact of collisions just like the crash described above.

Picture a guardrail. They are long and narrow, with flat plates at the end. When a vehicle strikes that guardrail end, the guardrail is supposed to curl back and absorb the impact.

If it doesn’t work, that guardrail is a giant spear piercing your car.

One guardrail company tried to save a few bucks by making the ends of those guardrails smaller— 4” instead of 5”. It sounds small, but it changed the structural integrity of the guardrail, leading to many serious injuries and deaths.

They didn’t test the change. And they didn’t tell the government about the change.

That company, Trinity Industries, Inc., was fined $575 million in a federal whistleblower lawsuit last year. The jury found that the company defrauded the government by not sharing safety information about their guardrails.

The lawsuit forced a federal investigation by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Trinity had to conduct new safety tests of the new guardrail ends.

“Sham tests rife with flaws” find guardrails are safe

Last month, the crash tests conducted on the 4” guardrail ends were released. Guardrails had to pass eight crash tests to be considered safe. The FHWA analyzed the results, and said the guardrails passed all of the tests.

ABC News filmed the car crash tests from overhead after reporters were denied access. By all accounts, the first seven tests showed the guardrails to be safe.

The eighth test showed the guardrail endplate jamming, turning the guardrail into a car spear.

An FHWA statement said the likelihood of injury from this crash was .03% … so the guardrail ends passed the safety test.

Do you think this crash would cause serious injuries? Trinity and the FHWA say it's unlikely...

Do you think this crash would cause serious injuries? Trinity and the FHWA say it’s unlikely…

The FHWA has disregarded safety “after allowing the manufacturer to conduct sham tests rife with flaws,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. A group of Senators has requested a Government Accountability Office review of these tests. They say the tests were improper, standards were clearly outdated, and the whole operation calls into question the FHWA’s handling of the Trinity guardrail investigation.

Meanwhile, an independent study done by universities found that Trinity’s 4″ guardrail end was nearly 4 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as the 5″ end.

As of now, 35 states including Oregon, Washington and California, have suspended the purchase of new Trinity guardrails pending this federal investigation.

Should Oregon Speed Limit be Raised to 75 mph?

Two bills pending in the Oregon House of Representatives would increase the speed limits for passenger vehicles.

  • Current speed limit on state highways: 55 mph
  • Current speed limit on interstate highways: 65 mph

Oregon House Bill 3094 proposes to change the speed limit for passenger vehicles on interstates—I-5, I-84, I-82—from 65 miles per hour to 75 mph. State highway speed limits would go up to 65 mph.

A similar measure, Oregon House Bill 3402, would increase the speed limit to from 55 to 70 mph: but, only for sections of eastern Oregon highways, like Highway 97 and Highway 20.

“Yes, Oregon needs to increase the speed limit!”

Current speed limits are unrealistic, the bills’ proponents argue, as people already drive 70 mph on highways. Limits of 55 and 65 mph are unnecessary: the number of car crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities has been on a downward trend for years.

State Representative Knute Buehler is sponsoring HB 3402. In a statement to a Bend, Oregon news station, he cited the improvements in Oregon rural highways, as well as improved car safety technology, as factors rendering the current speed limits “unnecessarily low in selected rural areas of the state.”

Proponents point out that Oregon is one of only 12 states—and the only Western state—with a maximum speed limit of 65 mph or slower. A few years ago, Utah’s legislature raised speed limits to 80 mph in some rural areas. State officials say the accident rate has actually dropped. They attributed the improved safety to more vehicles traveling at the same speed.

This will help Oregonians explore the beautiful rural parts of Oregon more efficiently and allow businesses to ship their goods quicker to the distant corners of our state.”

- Rep. Knute Buehler

Commuters and businesses that ship goods across the state may have a particular interest in the speed limit increase. A review by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 2004 looked at one 300-mile stretch of I-84 between The Dalles and Ontario. They found that estimated value of time saved for drivers in that area would be approximately $17 million per year.

“No, increasing the speed limit is dangerous!”

Speeding is a factor in almost a third of fatal motor vehicle crashes.

There’s a direct correlation between speed and the likelihood of fatality. The faster you are driving, the more likely you are to die in the event of a car crash.

The bills’ opponents say that part of the reason for that downward trend in car accident injuries and fatalities is speed limits and police enforcement. And any economic benefit for the drivers saving a couple of minutes a day would be negated by the high cost of traffic deaths.

Studies have indicated that when we increase speed, you increase the potential of risk and it does show itself in increased lives lost and serious injuries sustained.”

-Oregon Department of Transportation safety division administrator Troy Costales

Another concern cited by opponents: the speed spillover effect. Will drivers exiting off of I-5 easily transition from 80 mph down to 30 mph? Are exit ramps and stoplights set up to handle vehicle traffic at high speeds?

Citizens in rural areas of Oregon are more likely to support the speed limit increase. There are fewer cars and less congestion; however, farmers move equipment at slow speeds, and livestock line the roads. Additionally, it takes emergency responders longer to get to the scenes of serious car accidents in rural areas.

A Beaverton police officer expresses concern about vehicle speed and accidents

A Beaverton police officer expresses concern about vehicle speed and accidents

What do you think?

Is it time for Oregon to catch up with the rest of the West? Or is a speed limit increase unnecessarily dangerous?

Both speed limit bills are currently in committee in the Oregon House. Track the bills’ progress, and let your state representative know what you think about the proposed speed limit increases here: http://gov.oregonlive.com

It’s worse than we thought: terrifying video study of teen distracted driving crashes

NHTSA estimated that about 15% of teen driver car crashes are caused by driver distraction.

AAA researchers pulled in-car event recorders and analyzed almost 1700 teen drivers in the six seconds before a crash.

Distraction was a factor in 58% of teen car crashes.

That’s a huge difference: four times more teen car crashes could be attributed to distracted driving, making it a much bigger problem than suspected.

Damore_Law_Group_Teen_Distracted_Driving_Crash_Video

The above video is absolutely terrifying. Half of the teen drivers who caused rear-end accidents didn’t reduce their speed, or attempt to avoid the collision.

And these were drivers who knew they were being filmed. What are teen drivers doing when there’s no one watching?

Teen drivers who have more than one passenger in the car were the most likely to cause a crash.

Another big culprit, of course, was cell phone use.  Researchers found that teen drivers with a hand on their cell phone had their eyes off the road for an average of more than four out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers.  AAA is urging states to use the alarming results of this study to pass stricter laws on distracted driving and graduated driver licensing programs.

 

What we can (and can’t) learn from Oregon’s fatal crash data

The Oregon Department of Transportation started collecting information on fatal motor vehicle accidents back in 1946.

Last week, The Oregonian created a searchable map using this data. It shows the location of every crash that resulted in 5 or more fatalities.

Damore_Law_Group_Fatal_Crashes_Oregon_Map

See the map on OregonLive

That’s 47 crashes in nearly 70 years— just a fraction of the total number of traffic deaths. There’s not much to gather from the patterns or locations unless you are a traffic safety engineer.

The real value is in the crash details and news articles about the victims.

…The lone survivor was a 6-month-old girl.

A carload of Portland-area teenagers died when they hit a station wagon head-on. The husband and wife in the front seat of the wagon died; their five children in the vehicle were injured—and witnessed their parents’ deaths.

Eight women were in a van that collided with a truck; six of them died. The other two were injured, but protected by the bodies of their friends.

Each dot represents a crash in which at least five people died. That’s a minimum of 235 people who died tragically and unexpectedly.

That’s thousands of mourning parents, children, relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  Those who survived these accidents are also deeply, permanently affected.

So far this year, there have been 79 traffic fatalities in Oregon. That’s up more than 40% from the same time in 2014.

It’s an ominous number. And around that number is the enormous circle of people whose lives have been changed by these losses.

We can tally up the number of car accident deaths, put them on a map, and enumerate the causes. But there is simply no way to calculate the ripple effect of a violent and sudden death.

Benzene in the water: fracking and an impending public health crisis in California

Benzene is a naturally occurring chemical, but a known human carcinogen: overexposure can affect your blood and immune system. Benzene exposure is linked to both acute and chronic myelogenous leukemia, and acute lymphocytic leukemia.

In short, it’s not a chemical you want in your water.

Fracking in California causing benzene water pollution

The process of hydraulic fracturing—“fracking” — to release natural gas and petroleum deep in the ground is a complicated and dirty process.

Here’s how it works: oil and gas companies drill holes deep into the ground until they hit shale rock.

A map of the shale rock across the United States.

A map of the shale rock across the United States.

Then, they pump in huge quantities of water and fracturing fluid to create enough pressure to crack the deep-rock formations. Natural gas, petroleum and brine flows through the cracks; the oil companies extract it and sell it.

So what happens to the water and chemicals that fractured the rock?

California oil wells end up with about 10 gallons of fracking wastewater for every gallon of oil they extract.  Between 60-80% of that wastewater is pumped back out of the ground.*

Oil companies are supposed to treat the wastewater to prevent it from contaminating groundwater, then dispose of it by dumping it into a pit or a disposal well.

In 2013, California public health officials, concerned about the mass quantities of chemical-laden wastewater, ordered water tests. The results, recently published by the LATimes, found

On average, benzene levels 700 times higher than federal standards allow…

How California let oil companies pollute the water

There are rules and laws dictating how oil companies are to dispose of the benzene-laden fracking wastewater.

So how could the wastewater end up in California’s drinking water?

Back in 1983, federal Environmental Protection Agency officials put California’s oil field regulators — the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources — in charge of enforcing a federal law: the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Instead of protecting California’s drinking water, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources have allowed oil companies to inject their wastewater into hundreds of protected aquifers that hold public water.

California’s state regulators say the errors were “inadvertent”, and due to mismanagement. The federal Environmental Protection Agency calls the errors “shocking.”

In fact, it’s hard to tell how the state agency allowed this to happen, since they have almost no data on wastewater. Evidently, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources keeps paper records, and doesn’t even have a complete record of where oil wells are releasing the contaminated wastewater.

Even worse, the same incompetent state agencies that allowed the benzene contamination to occur are now in charge of fixing the problem.

“Every citizen of California has the right to pure and safe drinking water…”

California State Health and Safety Code, Section 116270-116293

Instead of upholding it’­s own law (and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act), California’s state government has potentially exposed millions of its citizens to incredibly toxic levels of benzene, putting them at risk for fatal diseases.

 

 

* What happens to the 20-40% of fracking wastewater left underground? It’s cause for another major public health concern: earthquakes induced by fluid injection from the fracking process. See The Legal Examiner: What the Frack? Man-made earthquakes are for real

Insurance companies using dangerous aftermarket parts in car repairs

A recent car crash that killed two Oregon teenagers and injured two others ignited a conversation about the dangers of using “aftermarket” parts on cars and trucks.

“Aftermarket” parts are any parts added to a vehicle after the original sale, usually for cosmetic reasons— or to replace damaged parts after a car accident.

Some aftermarket parts are improvements on the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts: perhaps the OEM part was defective, or the design has improved since the car was built.

But many aftermarket parts used for repairs are just cheaper, inferior versions of the OEM parts.

Aftermarket parts in car repairs

If you are in a car crash, the at-fault driver’s property damage liability insurance is obligated to cover the cost of restoring your car to pre-crash condition, or pay to replace it.

The insurance company gives you an estimate for the cost of your car repair. Then, the insurance adjuster tells you that they have a “preferred service center” that will fix your car for that price.

It sounds like the insurance company has already done the hard work of finding good mechanics and repair shops to fix cars properly, and for a reasonable cost. When in reality, the insurance company’s  “preferred service center” is probably using cheap, salvaged, or counterfeit aftermarket parts in your car.

You could be driving a very dangerous car.

Oregonians are talking about the aftermarket car parts because of last week’s tragic crash, but a lawsuit against insurance companies may bring national attention to this safety issue.

DAmore Law Group Fatal crash aftermarket car parts and safety

A CNN investigation found auto insurance companies skimping on repairs, putting your safety at risk.

More than 500 auto body shops in 36 states—including Oregon, Washington and California—recently filed a lawsuit against insurance companies that require mechanics to use low-quality aftermarket parts to repair vehicles.

Auto body shop owners say insurance companies would remove them from “preferred service center” lists if they refused to use these bad parts.

Shop owners lost business for asking to repair vehicles safely.

Vehicle owners were funneled to repair shops that would happily install inferior, aftermarket parts.

Despite the lawsuit, and the fact that US Senator Richard Blumenthal has asked the US Department of Justice to investigate this practice, this issue is unlikely to be resolved soon.

In the meantime, a repair shop could be fixing your vehicle with aftermarket parts—and you could be driving a very dangerous car.

The 3 Things you Need to Know: National Consumer Protection Week

This week is National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), established to encourage you to take full advantage of your consumer rights, and make better buying decisions.

Any time you spend money on goods or services, you are a consumer.

1. As a consumer, you have rights

Our government has established consumer protection laws to give you a way to fight back against unfair or abusive business practices. But most of those laws only apply after the damage has been done.

Even though consumer rights laws are vague at best, there are a few established principles.

  • You should be able to trust that the products you buy are reasonably safe.
  • You should be able to trust that a company that advertises a service can actually provide that service.
  • You have the right to be informed, and the right to choose where you spend your money.

For example, if you buy a new car, you should be able to trust that car’s airbag will deploy if you are rear-ended by a truck on your way home.

When you search for an auto body shop to repair your car, you can reasonably expect that a shop that advertises “car accident repair” will employ a mechanic who can fix your vehicle.

And when you take your car in to that shop, you have the right to ask for a cost estimate on the repairs—and to take your car elsewhere if the price is too high.

2. It’s up to you to protect those rights

Do your research.

To protect yourself from fraud, scams, and rip-offs, you need to gather as much information as possible before you make a major purchase, or invest in a personal or household service.

There are hundreds of resources available to help you. National Consumer Protection Week’s website has organized information from government agencies and consumer protection organizations on credit and debt, shopping safely, and protecting your identity.

Damore-Law-Group-Oregon-Consumer-Safety-HelpCheck for consumer complaints.

Most people don’t realize that the Oregon Department of Justice maintains a consumer complaint database.  See if the lawyer you want to hire has multiple complaints of client fraud, or if the contractor bidding to fix your house has charged more than the stated amount in the contract.

Search for consumer complaints

The Better Business Bureau also maintains a list of consumer complaints, and provides accreditation for business that have a history of good practices.

It’s easy to look up complaints—and see if those complaints were resolved by the business.

Damore-Law-Group-Better-Business-Bureau-Lawyers3. What to do if your rights are violated

Part of being a good consumer is raising your hand and letting people know when you’ve been wronged.

File a consumer complaint in Oregon:

 https://justice.oregon.gov/forms/consumer_complaint.asp

Report an unsafe product:

 http://www.damorelaw.com/recalls/consumer-products-safety-commission-launches-new-web-database-for-reporting-unsafe-products.htm

Fatal crash leads to conversation about aftermarket parts and safety

The tragic car crash that killed two West Linn teens and injured at least two others is prompting a conversation about the safety of “aftermarket” parts.

According to the Oregonian, a “large, aftermarket bumper” contributed to the deaths of the teenagers. Their car was rear-ended at a high speed by a Jeep: the Jeep’s front bumper “intruded through the trunk and into the rear of the passenger compartment…” *

A different news outlet—KGW— reports a very different assessment from a Washington State Trooper, who stated “…the bumper was within state safety guidelines and was not believed to have contributed to the crash…”

It may be a long time before the investigation into that Columbia Gorge highway crash is complete. But in the meantime, the tragedy has ignited a conversation about the safety of aftermarket car parts.

Using aftermarket parts on your vehicle

Aftermarket parts usually fall into two categories: parts that were replaced in the vehicle after an accident, or parts that were added to the vehicle for cosmetic or performance purposes.

There is a huge market for cosmetic and performance car adaptations. Americans spent $33 billion dollars last year customizing vehicles: boosting the engine performance, adding specialized tires and rims, large custom bumpers, etc.

The primary problem: it’s a safety risk. 

All car and truck designs must go through crash and safety tests before they can be sold to the public. When you buy a new vehicle, it has the same original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts used in those safety tests.

Most aftermarket parts are designed, manufactured, and sold by third parties. Unlike OEM parts, aftermarket pieces have not been safety-tested by the manufacturer for use on the vehicle.

Even if the vehicle manufacturer designated the part as safe, an incorrect installation could make it very dangerous.

New tires and rims can change your vehicle’s alignment, suspension and brakes. Switching out your headlights for aftermarket high-intensity discharge lamps can cause electrical problems. An aftermarket bumper could affect how your vehicle absorbs the impact in a crash—which the Oregonian suggests happened in last week’s fatal crash in the Gorge.

Regardless of whether or not an aftermarket bumper contributed to severity of that crash, be aware that aftermarket parts can affect the safety of vehicle.

 

 

* Out of respect for the crash victims and their families, names have been omitted.

Immediate grief and long-term effects of unexpected death

In the legal field, we speak about death in technical terms that can feel very removed from personal tragedy.  The legal term for a car accident fatality is “wrongful death”. Court filings refer to your loved one as the “decedent”, and discuss “negligent actions” and “punitive damages.”

Because we are so accustomed to this legal language, it’s particularly touching to read a real, heartfelt story of a mother and daughter struggling with a Vancouver man’s unexpected death. He had stopped to help a stranded driver on I-205, and was fatally injured in a hit-and-run crash late last year.

A woman has lost her husband of 40 years. A daughter can never introduce her father to his first grandchild, due in April.  Their story of the aftermath of this car crash is moving, and their bravery in sharing their grief is inspiring. *

Violent, unexpected deaths have an effect that is impossible to calculate.

There is no right time to lose someone you love.

But if you have ever seen the aftermath of a fatal car crash, you can imagine that person’s death was very different from passing away in old age, surrounded by loved ones, free from pain.

There is a sense of unjustness: it’s not fair that someone else made a choice to drive drunk, to speed on an icy road, or to run a red light.

There’s nothing that the law can do to remedy this unfairness.

The solutions we do have— criminal and civil lawsuits — are necessary for order in society, because there must be consequences for bad or negligent acts.  But no lawsuit can undo what has happened, and no amount of money can replace someone you love: these are simply the only tools we have to try to compensate for loss.

For the family left behind, these lawsuits can be helpful—and sometimes, painful.

Criminal cases force survivors to recount the grim details of the worst day of their lives. Civil lawsuits have to be filed for survivors to get rightful insurance benefits. This added injustice could complicate the grieving process.

Death is always a shock whenever it happens…When it’s unexpected that can lead to some complicated grieving.

-Cory Bolkan, Washington State University, Vancouver

Bereavement groups can help people move forward, and manage some of the complex feelings that accompany a sudden death. It helps survivors to be with others who understand that grief and anger.

Last year alone, there were 39 traffic fatalities in Clark County, Washington. That’s twice as many as in 2013. That means hundreds more grieving spouses, children and parents, and many more friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers.

Survivor stories like the one told in The Columbian remind us that in every town, in every county in Washington, there are real people suffering from the consequences of someone else’s actions.

Remember this every time you get behind the wheel of a car: you are responsible for driving safely, and reducing the risk of harm for everyone else on the road. Your actions, deliberate or accidental, can have a terrible, life-changing affect on so many other people.

 

 

*Out of respect for the family, we will not post their names. You can read the article here: Survivors Deal with Complex Layers of Grief

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