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Accidents and justice

Every indication points to the Parachute accident that killed five firefighters being just that – an accident, and no more. As such, it has put District Attorney Mac Myers in a difficult position.

The driver of the van, 21-year-old firefighter Megan Helm, of Oregon, has received widespread sympathy, even from the families of those who died in the wreck. According to reports, a momentary distraction caused her to lose control of a passenger vehicle prone to rollovers, and such a rollover occurred.

She finds herself in this position because she was driving to Colorado with her colleagues to fight a dangerous fire on our state’s behalf.

For these and other reasons, Helm’s many supporters say Myers is wrong to be pursuing charges against her of careless driving resulting in deaths and serious injuries.

But Myers is obligated to prosecute violators of the law, and he has reason to believe Helms broke the law through her actions. However inadvertent those actions may have been, lives were lost, and the law requires some level of accountability.

That being said, these are misdemeanor crimes being alleged against Helm. She would not be a felon if convicted.

And Myers knows as well as anyone that any criminal conviction would be nothing compared to the anguish she already feels.

Barring some evidence that Helm was guilty of something greater than a brief lapse of attention, we trust that Myers and the judge who handles this case will let Helm off lightly. She certainly would appear to deserve no time in jail.

Meanwhile, along with the families of those who died, Helm has our sympathy and condolences in this tragic and unfortunate situation.

– Dennis Webb, News Editor


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