Letter to the Editor: Response to Destiny Turner by Josh Gillman

by Josh Gillman

Dear Editor,

In the June 14, 2023 edition of the Blackwell Journal-Tribune, I read the cover story about a young mother who lost her child to a reckless driver who was under the influence of an illegal substance at the time. The driver did some time in prison only to get out and drive recklessly while under the influence again. As I continued to read the article, I read the effects the aftermath of the wreck had on this mother. I was deeply saddened by this tragedy this young mother had to endure.

On May 9, 1981, the day before mother’s day that year, my uncle was in the Navy stationed in San Diego, California. He just finished playing softball with some of his buddies and was heading to a party when the vehicle was in was flipped over by a drunk driver. My uncle, who was in the front passenger seat, flew out of the windshield and landed on the ground head first doing a “belly flop” on the road. Over an hour later, he was pronounced dead in a hospital in San Diego. The next day, on Mother’s Day, the Department of the US Navy found my grandmother in church in Glendale, Arizona. They pulled my grandmother out of church to deliver the bad news about her son. Because there were hardly any laws to deter drunk driving back then, the driver was never prosecuted.

My uncle was 21 years old. I was only 3 years old at the time of his accident. I watched my grandmother and my family suffer immensely from the aftermath of my uncle’s accident. For many years, my grandmother would not accept any gifts for Mother’s Day. I went through (and still go though) my life wondering what might have been with my uncle, who would have been 63 years old and getting ready to enjoy retirement. My uncle did not get to enjoy a full life because of someone’s reckless behavior. My heart breaks even more for this young mother’s daughter because her daughter was just barely starting life when lost her life to someone’s reckless behavior.

This young mother has suffered very severely. Sadly, she will probably continue to suffer for the rest of her life. All because of someone who was reckless without remorse and continues to be reckless without remorse. The best thing to do is to support this young mother on June 23rd as she pushes to have the woman who killed her young daughter to have a long sentence in prison. People who can be careless and reckless without remorse do not belong in our community or our society.

Josh Gillman