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The road to hell

Last October, I wrote about a horrific car accident in Massachusetts that left two teenage sisters dead and their friend severely injured. At the time, I brought it up as a lesson that bad things can happen at any time, at any place, and sometimes fate doesn't give a crap about anything else -- if you're stupid, you just might get yourself killed.

The girls are long buried, but their storly lives on.

Initial reports on the crash didn't go too far into causes, but speed and inexperience were mentioned as possible factors. Alcohol didn't come up.

Until the police started looking into it. Photos of the girls drinking at other parties besides the one they left before the crash surfaced on the internet. Witnesses reported there was drinking going on at that party, and all three girls were playing drinking games before they left.

Things got even more interesting when the police sought the girls' toxicology test results from their autopsies -- and were stymied.

It seems that the state's Attorney General (and candidate for governor), Tom Reilly, was a friend of the girls' family. He called the county attorney handling the investigation and urged him not to release the autopsy results, out of respect for the family's loss. The attorney took that as meaning not to anyone, even the police, and soon investigators cried foul. And when the girls' parents turned up on a list of Reilly campaign contributors, the charges of coverup and political favoritism started flying. Reilly quickly found himself on the defensive over the matter, explaining that he certainly never intended to hamper a criminal investigation into who may have provided the vodka to the underage girls.

I have absolutely no use for Reilly whatsoever. He is one of the leading proponents of the push to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens, and I can't think of a single policy or stance of his that I think is anything short of seriously head-up-the-ass stupid. But I'm not going to denounce him for this one.

I think he did what he did out of compassion, not venality. The parents have had to bury their children, and that is a truly awful thing. He might even have not intended to include the police in his advice to "not release the autopsy results," but was misunderstood.

I think he was wrong to do so. I think that letting the facts all come out might help other parents save their children. I think that whoever did provide the Murphy girls and Melissa Smith with booze ought to do a nice, long stretch in jail. And I think that a Reilly governorship would be an utter disaster for the state and the region.

But I can't use this incident to finish off his political career. It was a wrong decision, but done for decent reasons. And an abject lesson in how compassion is not the best motivation for making decisions.


Comments (19)

Parents look to blame every... (Below threshold)
JohnAnnArbor:

Parents look to blame everyone possible except their little darlings when something like this happens. A newspaper columnist sued the U. of Michigan a few years back after his daughter died falling drunkenly out her dorm window. He blamed the window. It's sad, of course, but if the youngsters in question hadn't drunk like fishes, they'd be alive. No amount of suing or suppression of autopsy reports will ever change that.

Being the AG whether he did... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

Being the AG whether he did it out of compassion or not he f'd up big time. I'm actually kind of glad to see it though, he'll take a beating over this, approving the GM amendment and being a loser in general.

He may have done this out o... (Below threshold)
AngryMe:

He may have done this out of compassion, but he was very wrong to do so as there was another person in the car that survived the crash.

"Until the police started l... (Below threshold)
Amish:

"Until the police started looking into it."

Why in the hell are these stupid cops investigating this? What possible reason could they have? The girls are dead. They only killed themselves. No suspicion of foul play. The police
in Massachusetts must be wicked awesome if they have alreadly locked up every murderer, rapist and drug dealer so they can devote precious man hours to pissing on the memories of two dead girls.

"Say nothing but good of the dead" is a phrase that i have always tried to live by.(With exceptions of course)

Why cause the family more grief?

Its like telling the members of a suicide victim that there relative "is probably going to hell."

Leave well enough alone.

O.k. I wrote all that and then went back and read that it was part of an investigation into who gave the girls the booze. My bad. I just hate cops and jumped to conclusions a little.

Booze? Young Girls? Car Crash? Massachusetts? If a size 40 hat was found at the scene I think I may have a suspect...

Hmmm.Reilly might ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Reilly might be compassionate, but his office should be enforcing the law.

Fire him.

amish: my my, leave well en... (Below threshold)
tim:

amish: my my, leave well enough alone? you hate cops, huh! if your loved one was the passenger in the car that the drunk driver was operating, would you want to know the facts. disregarding the facts equals burying your head in the sand: classical democratic strategy/disability. your list of "potential suspects" suggests you don't suffer from such a debilitating condition. everyone hates a cop, the government, the courts and the legislatures until you need them. these parents raised irrepsonsible children and now want to hide the realities of how the poor girls were so horribly lost.

Minor editorial correction ... (Below threshold)

Minor editorial correction - 'object lesson'

Amish - cops can be good or bad - cherish the good, and scourge the bad. Don't tar them all with the same brush, please.

Unless the AG is making tho... (Below threshold)

Unless the AG is making those calls on behalf of all parents whose children die in car accidents, then its wrong, period, I don't care what his intentions are.

Not that it doesn't happen every hour of every day. Still doesn't make it right. Should some poor family who loses a daughter not expect the same consideration?

I think that whoever did... (Below threshold)
Mike:

I think that whoever did provide the Murphy girls and Melissa Smith with booze ought to do a nice, long stretch in jail.

Just out of curiousity, do you feel the same way for parents who provide alcohol to minors, but ensure that all the party-goers sleep over? I personally believe that the death of these 2 sisters, while tragic, was caused by their own stupidity to drive while drunk. I realize we don't know if that is true or not because they haven't released the toxicology results, so I am forced to assume that alcohol played a role.

And Amish, nice display of ignorance on your part as far as a police investigation. If alcohol was involved than a tragic accident becomes a crime. Thus the investigation is warranted. Couple that with the involvement of a third party and you have police negligence if they don't investigate. But after reading your post, I doubt you have the intelligence to grasp this concept.

Amish, the two girls were u... (Below threshold)
Indy Voter:

Amish, the two girls were underage - 17 and 15, respectively - so there were a number of laws which were violated if they were drunk when the accident occurred. First, anyone who served them alcohol (or permitted them to have it through inattention) may be prosecuted for their actions. Secondly, anyone who serves alcohol to an intoxicated person and then allows that person to drive may also be prosecuted for their actions, even if the server was not aware that the person was intoxicated. There are no doubt more laws which could be applied here (e.g. contributiong to the delinquency of a minor) but thanks to Reilly's interference (obstruction?) the law has been thwarted.

At best, Reilly was stupid in interfering in this case. At worst, he was criminal.

Hey, the Attorney General o... (Below threshold)
Bonk:

Hey, the Attorney General of Massachussetts only breaks the laws that the illegal aliens, and campaign contributors want him to break.

As AG, isn't he supposed to follow all State and Federal laws, regerdless of party affiliation?

I hate Massachussetts..

Money still talks in this c... (Below threshold)

Money still talks in this country.
A Sad Epitaph!

Welcome to Massachusetts: M... (Below threshold)

Welcome to Massachusetts: Money talks, bullshit wins elections.

As a talk radio caller stated yesterday, "How can people say Massachsuetts is an expensive place to live when you buy the Attorney General for $300?"

Reilly (in my biased opinion) is scum - apologies to scum.

As I put forth earlier this morning:

Let me pose a hypothetical for you, Tom.

Suppose these girls had been from an affluent family in Belmont, and their father happened to be a Romney campaign donor. If the governor was found to have used his influence to have the investigation prematurely closed, despite the overwhelming evidence that several laws of the Commonwealth had been broken, would you be OK with that? Or would you conveniently then flick your "Enforce the Law" switch to the ON position?

Jay, it's simple, Reilly is... (Below threshold)

Jay, it's simple, Reilly is a far-left, ultra liberal, grade A A-hole. This is potentially political poison for him. Put those things together, and we hope it becomes his undoing, even if it's not really a good reason for him to lose the election. If he's going to start digging political graves, somebody is going to push him in. Good riddance.

This was a COVERUP no 2 way... (Below threshold)
KBD:

This was a COVERUP no 2 ways about it. The location of the party belonged to a well connected businessman (Berbarian) known for political contributions and contracts with State & locales in the greater Worcester area. He may have had intentions helping a "friend" keep his business , his name and his son out of jail for delivering booze to minors. How many kids died in accidents over Reilly's career. How many times did he step in to prevent "parental distress" None that I know of. But you can bet your tax refund if you were not a local contributor then you won't get a call either. If you PAY you can Play!

Well, politicians protectin... (Below threshold)
Skeptic:

Well, politicians protecting friends (and friends of friends) is nothing new. I do think that this kind of behavior needs to be highlighted and should be a factor in the decision of the people of Massachusetts whether they are willing to trust him in their governor's mansion. However, the people of Massachusetts have rarely shown any qualms about politicians protecting their friends and family.
Teddy Kennedy, Demo Drunk -- used connections for getting out of any responsibility for what he did/didn't do at Chappaquiddick. I don't understand how the man gets re-elected unless it is to keep him off the roads in Massachusetts.

It is sad that those girls died, it is also frustrating that the police were obstructed in their investigation. I think that it is highly telling that the word to not release the autopsy results from the AG meant to close them to the authorities too! That kind of shows the culture of connections there.

Jay,I have to agre... (Below threshold)

Jay,

I have to agree with the commenters who believe that Reilly, whatever his motivations (and there are many reasons to question his motivations) was way out of line trying to derail this investigation.

Not only did Reilly seek to have the evidence in the case supressed (he claims he only tried to supress the release of the evidence to the public, but the police have been unable to get a copy of the autopsy reports), he held a press conference and became the spokesman for the family of the two dead sisters.

The family in question didn't just "turn up" as campaign donors - as if by mere happenstance. One doesn't just call the Attorney General of the state of Massachusetts and ask that he supress evidence and become the family spokesman. One MUST be personal friends of the Attorney General, and ALSO be a campaign donor to get that kind of "public service" from the man most likely to be the Democrats' next nominee for Governor.

Look, there are THREE families involved here. The first family is the family of the two dead sisters. The second family is the family of the injured passenger. And the third family is the family of the 20-year-old who held the party where these two underage girls got so drunk that two of them are dead now and one is severely injured and in the hospital.

Tom Reilly became the spokesman for ONLY ONE of these families - the one he had a close, personal and financial relationship with.

Many unanswered questions remain:

1) Where did the girls get the alcohol? And is there criminal negligence on the part of somone who may either have provided the girls the alcohol, or did not do enough to prevent their acquisition of it? For example, did the alcohol come from their own father's unlocked liquor cabinet? This question will be of importance to the SECOND FAMILY (the family of the injured passenger), if someone in the FIRST FAMILY provided, either directly or indirectly, the alcohol to the driver of the vehicle.

2) Did the THIRD FAMILY play a role in the deaths by hosting the party? It is illegal in Massachusetts to even "host" a party where underage drinking occurs. Attempting to quash the autopsy reports serves to protect the THIRD FAMILY from the legal (both criminal and civil)ramifications of hosting the party.

3) Did the parents of these girls know they were frequently drinking, and what did they do to prevent it? There are reports of FLIKR-type photo albums showing these underage girls partying like its 1999.

There are other questions too numerous to recount here. Tom Reilly is a lawyer and a politician. He's also the state's top lawyer. It's his job as a public servant to serve the people of the State of Massachusetts, not individual campaign-donating families. The people are served when their laws are enforced (including its civil laws), and Mr. Reilly is seeking to interfere with that process, in violation of the oath of office he took.

He did so because he has close personal and financial relationships with this family; of that there is no debate. And that you nor I could get this kind of "service" from Mr. Reilly is, I don't think, up for much debate either.

I can only suggest an apolo... (Below threshold)
epador:

I can only suggest an apology for JT in that he's lived next to Masssuckyoushits for so long, that the ol MJK/Teddy incident being replayed over and over has desensitized him. This is indeed inappropriate and criminal and if I were king Tom Reilly would have been summarily pinned to a wagon wheel on a pole at the site of the accident. Right next to the 20 year old that threw the party and anyone who enabled him. Would sure beat little white crosses and flowers. And might have some deterrent effect for other potential transgressors.

But I can't use this inc... (Below threshold)
shark:

But I can't use this incident to finish off his political career.

You're wrong. If he's that bad, you must not allow him up off the mat.

Finish off your enemies




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