Thursday night, during rush hour, two dipshits with far more horsepower than brains decided to drag race in Lowell. Their chosen course was the Lowell Connector, a couple-mile-long, 4-lane spur off Interstate 495 that runs into downtown Lowell. One was driving a Honda, apparently, while 18-year-old Carlos Rodriguez was behind the wheel of a 1997 Mercury Sable. Rodriguez lost control of his Sable, crossed the median, and went airborne, coming down on top of a 2002 Subara Legacy, then lurched into a 2000 Toyota Camry. Rodriguez was ejected from the car at some point, and is hospitalized in critical condition. Police are still looking for the other racing car
The Toyota’s driver suffered minor injuries. But the Subaru was being driven by a 31-year-old woman, and rescuers valiantly tried to save her. When they realized her injuries were too severe, they turned their attentions to her fetus.
Oh, did I forget to mention that she was about seven months pregnant? Darn.
Anyway, they delivered the baby by Caesarean, but that didn’t work, either. It died, too.
Now, I’ve driven the Lowell Connector many a time, I thought it was a lousy road, potentially dangerous, but never thought of it suitable for drag-racing. My main complaint was that when it ends, it dumps two lanes into a left-turn only intersection, where they have to fight to merge into a single lane. (The right-turn lanes get funneled off on a separate offramp). I guess if you live around Lowell, it’s the closest thing to a drag strip, but maybe I’m too much of an old fart to even consider that.
And as far as those who are mocking him for drag-racing in a Sable, I can tell you that as the owner of a ’98 Taurus wagon, if he’s got the 3.0-liter, 24-valve Duratec V-6 like I do, he can get himself into plenty of trouble. 200 horsepower and 200 foot-pounds of torque can make even a 3400 to 3600-pound (sedan or wagon) car step fairly along in a fairly lively manner.
On the good news/bad news front, under Masachusetts law, a fetus has to be 24 weeks or further along before it is counted as a person when it is killed in a crime. This one was 27 weeks along, so Mr. Rodriguez will face two counts of vehicular homicide.
The bad news is under Massachusetts law, the maximum penalty for vehicular homicide is 2 1/2 years in jail, along with loss of license for 10 years. It’s a MISDEMEANOR. And even if he gets the max, there’s a good chance he’ll get to serve them concurrently, and be out in two years.
I’ve got a much simpler solution. Let’s just go into his hospital room and pull the goddamned plug on his life-support. (I suspect at 18, driving an 8-year-old car, he probably doesn’t have very good insurance (if any) and/or much money, so it’s most likely the taxpayers of Massachusetts will be picking up the tab for his care anyway.)
Update: more details here and here. More details and corrections from earlier accounts: Rodriguez was driving an Acura Integra, not a Mercury Sable; Deborah J. Hornberger was 8 months pregnant; Rodriguez was driving at 92 miles an hour at the time of the crash