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Driver, after a terrible wrong, plans to work to make amends

Sep 17, 2009

from Aimee Green's article in the Oregonian:

When it came down to it, even the defense attorney couldn't mince words. His client was guilty of a truly horrific drunken-driving crash: striking a blind man on the sidewalk, breaking his pelvis and legs in eight places, then driving away.

But what made this case different from countless others, Jim O'Rourke said moments before a judge sentenced his client to prison Thursday, was that the Northeast Portland man did everything right after he did something that was so wrong. The judge and the prosecutor agreed.

Jack Alvord booked himself into a 30-day residential treatment center. He pushed his insurance company to settle with his victim for $1.25 million. Once he is out of prison, he has agreed to sit beside the man, Norman Larkin, and tell other drunken drivers what happened when he made the terrible decision to drink and drive.

Ron Greenen, an attorney representing Larkin's interests, said in his 34 years of practice he had never before seen a defendant take the initiative to visit his victim outside court and apologize.

Larkin says he considers Alvord "a new friend." That's not to downplay the injuries Larkin, 51, suffered Feb. 7 as he stood on the sidewalk near Northeast 57th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, his white cane in hand.

Alvord's car leapt onto the sidewalk and pinned Larkin against a utility pole. As Alvord attempted to drive away, witnesses said he struck Larkin again, then once again. Fourteen people saw the broad-daylight incident, and some followed Alvord, 61, as he drove away. They boxed him in less than a mile later.

Alvord had a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 percent, approaching four times the legal limit for driving.

Read the whole article.

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Lisa Rea
Lisa Rea says:
Sep 17, 2009 11:54 PM

This is a great article! This offender was pro-active. He took the first step towards taking responsibility for his actions. This is a key tenet of restoraive justice. <br /> <br />It shocked the judge and the victim. And it's no wonder. But the question is how often do offenders want to do the right thing but they do not know how to take that step? Or after the crime and perhaps during the trial, or during sentencing, how often is the offender prohibited from taking any kinds of steps that reflect restorative justice? <br /> <br />The healing that can come from restorative justice is real. But no one should be blocked from doing the right thing. The victim in this case already experienced a degree of healing. <br />When this offender is released back into society I would predict his chances of re-offending will be low. <br /> <br />Lisa Rea <br />

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