Hollywood, MD – One of the most tragic and provocative cases ever in our region reached a key moment Friday, Sept. 15. The sentencing of St. Mary’s County resident Lindsay Leanne Canter in Calvert County Circuit Court has been the subject of much discourse on our site and on social media the past few days. Friends of the gentleman who lost his life in the crash that Canter caused during the early morning hours of Dec. 15 are shocked, saddened and angered by what has occurred. None of those emotions were allayed after Judge E. Gregory Wells imposed the sentence on Canter. First, a brief word about the call the judge made. Any judge can only weigh the facts presented in court. He or she cannot log onto social media and then factor in any of the hearsay. Victim impact statements certainly carry some weight. However, the fact is Ms. Canter forfeited her right to a trial and pleaded guilty to two of the nine counts on which she was indicted. State prosecutors agreed to that plea. As with any sentence, the public may armchair quarterback the judge’s call, the attorneys’ negotiations—even law enforcement’s investigation—but nothing changes.

As important as that subject is, I instead want to focus on two aspects of this case—two very contrasting but striking aspects—acts of love, and drinking and driving.

The family and close friends of the victim, Ronnie Ball, have suffered a devastating loss. This is not something they will ever get over. Closure is nothing but a myth. The best they can hope for is to get through the ordeal and that won’t be easy. Showing up for the court hearing on a workday, wearing a shirt that honors the victim and writing letters to the judge were all acts of love. Even the smallest gesture gives the loved ones something to treasure and forever appreciate. While the defendant’s group of supporters was smaller, it was also a large act of love that they were there and spoke up on Canter’s behalf. Who of us wouldn’t want someone to be there to lend support in what is arguably our greatest hour of darkness? We can only hope that this act of love will aid the defendant on the long road of attempted rehabilitation.

This sad story is yet another example of the devastation that can be the result of driving while intoxicated. An angry person behind the wheel is bad enough. An enraged individual who has been drinking only makes the situation worse. All facets of judgment are lost. A motor vehicle becomes a deadly weapon. It is all the more lamentable that this incident occurred during the Christmas Holiday season, when local law enforcement, businesses and other agencies spend a great amount of time and energy begging for and encouraging moderation or temperance. It’s vexing to think that drunk driving is still a huge problem in our society and it’s difficult to determine what the best solution is. The idea of equipping all vehicles with ignition interlocks (car breathalyzers) is something many auto manufacturers, dealers and drivers will find unpalatable. However, it’s clear something drastic must be done.

Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. At the same time we pray the defendant somehow finds redemption. Society must resolve to reform its reckless ways behind the wheel or we will see a recurrence of this sad story.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the management of TheBayNet.com

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com