Six Months for Cracking Man’s Skull and Leaving Him to Bleed

I wrote about the hit-and-run that left Ryan Hendrix with a cracked skull and bleeding near the brain back on December 13, 2012. The driver who hit Mr. Hendrix as he was crossing the street was finally sentenced recently: to six months in jail, three years probation, and one year without a driver’s license.

Ronald Jacko drank whiskey and three beers at a Blazer’s game, according to the passenger in his car, then sped through a yellow or red light (details are still unclear), cut off a car, then ran into Mr. Hendryx (who was also drunk, and crossing the street outside a crosswalk). Henryx’s location, however, does not excuse Jacko’s reckless driving, or the fact that he then left the scene.

Jacko fled, got his cracked windshield replaced, and then finally turned himself in several days later, when it looked as though he would be tracked down anyway. As the sentencing judge said, he decided to cover up the incident the next day, in the cold light of day, when he was completely sober. This is worth more than six months in jail and one year – one year! – without a license.

Think about this for a moment. Jacko: (1) drank and drove, (2) cracked a man’s skull, (3) left him lying there, internal bleeding pooling next to his brain, for all Jacko knew, to die, (4) the next day replaced his windshield to cover up his crime. The assault itself was not premeditated. But leaving the scene and trying to cover it up were premeditated.

And in one short year, the State of Oregon, our state, is going to say to this man: “Here, we think you should be on the road again, let us give you a driver’s license! Why the heck not? Go ahead and drive some more. We trust you. Why wouldn’t we? No reason not to!”

This topic is very important to me. I recently spoke in front of the Oregon House Judiciary Committee to help pass a bill that extends the period of time drivers convicted of hit and run for serious injury accidents have their licenses revoked. I have yet to hear one good reason they shouldn’t have their licenses revoked for good.

It is maddening. The roads are dangerous enough as it is. Why would we give this man another license ever? Let alone after one short year? If anyone has any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.