60 Minutes - Is it Murder?
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(Jan 27, 2009)
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Airdate 1/4/09 Every 39 minutes, a drunk driver kills a person -- that's 13,000 Americans per year. One New York district attorney has taken the unusual step of charging a man with murder, not manslaughter, for a driving drunk accident that killed two people, including a child. The DA says the driver "had a completely depraved indifference to human life," but his lawyer tells Bob Simon his client isn't a dangerous, cold-blooded murderer.
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This 60 Minutes episode deals with a notorious accident that took place on a well known parkway on Long Island in 2005. It involved a young man in a pick up truck driving a couple of miles the wrong way into traffic and finally colliding with a limousine that was bringing a family home from a wedding - instantly killing the limo driver and beheading an adorable 7 year old who was a flower girl at her aunt's wedding.
What makes it especially powerful is that the viewer sees the actual accident happening. There was a video camera in the front windshield of the limo - and as the grandparents of the little girl are describing the accident, the viewer gets to see this light coming toward the limo that turns into two lights and quickly rams into them.
We get to hear from the DA prosecuting the case - and from the young man's attorney. This dvd engages kids and adults alike in the discussion of what type of sentence is appropriate for DWIs where one or more people are killed. It incites thought about whether or not steeper penalties would deter drunk driving and whether or not the crime can be considered murder.