Gypsy's Travels

Friday, November 23, 2007

Two Places at the Table

I was driving DD#3 to my home from the airport when we passed a scene on Parmer Lane and 130. Several floral displays and 2 small empty chairs gave us an idea of someones sorrow, but it was Alberta Phillips' column in the "Austin American Statesman" that filled in the story.

Briefly, Mary Taylor had placed the empty chairs at the site of her DH's and DD's fatal accident as symbols of the two chairs that would be empty at her table on Thanksgiving Day. Mary's husband had picked their daughter up from college and was headed home on Thanksgiving Day last year. Their Subaru was, reportedly, hit by David Clifton Finch who was driving a Dodge pick-up truck. Finch had run a red light and, according to reports, did not slow down before he hit the car. Finch was not charged and did not receive a ticket for the incident in spite of the fact he killed two people. There was no sobriety test. People who drive drunk argue their drinking is the cause. I wonder what people who are sober blame?

One of the things I learned as a trauma nurse is that there are NO "accidents," there are only "preventable occurrences." This was clearly an occurrence that would have been prevented if someone had not run a red light.

'Finch, whose recklessness took two lives, never was forced to surrender his license, never was charged with a crime. Now it looks like he will walk — without even a ticket.
Finch got a new truck.
Mary got a $40,000 funeral bill. Finch sits down to dinner with his family in the evenings (his wife and toddlers were in the truck ) when he crashed). Mary stares at empty chairs. Finch eats turkey, dressing and pie. Mary swallows pills. '

We have all run a red light. We have all had close calls as red lights have been disregarded. I believe I will always think of Mary Taylor and her family when I am faced with a light that is changing. I also think of David Finch and the burden of guilt he must carry for the rest of his life. I can't think of anyone whose life is not worth another couple of minutes spent waiting.


  1. Yes, it's also a time to think of others.

  2. How terribly sad. This kind of stuff makes my blood boil. I just can't understand it. My SIL is a firefighter and saw at least one death last week before Thanksgiving due to drunk drivers. A father was taking his 15-year-old son out for a driving lesson. A drunk ran the red light and killed the dad on the spot. The son was ok, as was (of course)the drunk. I don't understand why people who drive drunk aren't severely punished for taking the lives of other people. I wish someone could explain that to me. My heart goes out to both mothers.


Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to share your stories and comments.