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November 19, 2003
Nolan Myers' Family Speaks Out

Some of you may remember this post regarding the death of a Minnesota teen in North Carolina, who was hit by a drunk driver while being a Good Samaritan and trying to assist stranded motorists on Route 54. Nolan was one of six people killed by Larry Robert Veeder, whose blood alcohol level was .18, which is over twice the legal threshold in most states, including North Carolina. Veeder was charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter.

This was the story as I excerpted it from the Star Tribune (links no longer valid):

When Nolan Myers saw somebody was in need he was always willing to lend a helping hand, his family and friends said. ... He and three friends came upon the accident and stopped to be good samaritans. As Myers, 18, of Carver, Minn., reached one of the injured motorists, the driver of a speeding van plowed into the vehicles and the bystanders, killing five people, including Myers. A sixth person died en route to the hospital, authorities said.

No matter the circumstances, the sudden death of such a young person is tragic; all the possibilities of their life gone in an instant, along with the children and grandchildren that will never be, the comfort he would have provided his family as they grew older. Gone. And when that young man has the character and caring that Nolan was in the middle of demonstrating, assisting people he didn't know just because it was the right thing to do, that makes the tragedy even more keenly felt. And when it turns out that he died because someone decided to drink repeatedly and then get in a truck and drive, it's no longer just a tragedy; it's a travesty.

This evening, I received a comment to this post from Phil Myers, a member of Nolan's family, that I would like to put into its own post. Phil Myers writes about this much better than I ever will.

Nolan's death has touched many, and his family is struggling with finding forgiveness for the Mr. Veeder who took the life of their only son and five others, while injuring three, two of whom will be in physical therapy for at least a year. Mr. Veeder's blood alcohol level was .18 - over twice the legal level, measured after being booked since he had the presence of mind to refuse a breathalizer at the scene. This is still not expected to elevate the charges to secondary murder from involuntary manslaughter according to the DA, notwithstanding the fact that he was going 60 mph at the time and 55 at impact of the trailblazer from which a young man had been rescued moments before by Nolan and others. [Speed limit was 45 -- Ed.]

Poor lighting says the defense? The Raleigh impound parking lot adjoins the intersection, and is floodlit at night. Numerous drivers came upon the scene from the same direction before Mr. Veeder, and did U-turns to retreat from the scene. Then along comes Mr. Veeder at 60... mows down nine and slams into the damaged trailblazer, pushing it another 76 feet. After justice, Mr. Veeder needs treatment, but his behavior has ruined numerous lives and dreams. Accountability for tragidies such as this is necessary to make clear to everyone the implications of choosing to drive intoxicated. I do sympathize with Mr. Veeder, however, in that he must now live on with this nightmare in his heart for the rest of his life...perhaps a fate worse than the worst punishment the people of North Carolina can mete out. - PJM

I can't imagine the grief that Mr. Myers and his family are experiencing, along with the completely justified anger and resentment towards Mr. Veeder for taking Nolan from them. Their concern over forgiveness and treatment for Mr. Veeder shows what kind of people Nolan came from. Please keep these people in your prayers. Remember this, and what the loss of a fine young man means to his family and to all of us, if you're tempted to drive after having a few drinks or see someone else who tries it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 19, 2003 10:25 PM

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