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The prince and the pauper

Back in October of 2002, there was a traffic accident in downtown Boston. A guy driving a BMW SUV (DWI) hit and killed a homeless man crossing a street. The driver, Saudi Prince Bader Al Saud, is currently serving a year in jail, and came to a $345,000 settlement with the man's family.

Prince Bader is spending his time in a fairly cushy, minimum-security jail on Martha's Vineyard. He reads, watches TV, plays cards with his fellow inmates, and attends mandated Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

But to him, it's little better than Guantanamo Bay. You see, he's a victim, too.

Orlando Ramos, 37 forever, might have been struck by two and a half tons of speeding steel, but Bader has also suffered. Ramos' suffering was over fairly quickly; he died at the hospital shortly after the crash, but Bader has to live with the horrific memories of pounding down some Johnny Walker Black, getting into the SUV leased for him by the Saudi government, and tearing around the streets of Boston (where he was attending college, also on the Saudi's dime) until this despicable, selfish homeless bum hurled himself in front of the Ultimate Driving Machine, messing up the front end, and starting a chain of events that resulted in Bader having to spend a year in jail.

On Martha's Vineyard.

Watching TV, reading, playing cards, and attending AA meetings.

Poor Bader. Had this happened back in far more civilized Saudi Arabia, at worst he would have to pay the man's family a token "blood penalty" for killing the indigent. At best, the guy's family would have been billed for the damage to the prince's SUV. But in savage, barbaric, unfair America, the prince is spending a year in jail.

On Martha's Vineyard.

Watching TV, reading, playing cards, and attending AA meetings.

Oh, the humanity.

(Update: Sometimes I forget that not everyone outside the immediate region knows the full details of this story. Bader was 20 years old, drunk, and speeding on a city street when he hit and killed Mr. Ramos. I also believe he did not have a valid license, but I can't confirm that. Further, when the police arrived on the scene, he initially refused a breathalyzer, claiming diplomatic immunity. So we have underage drinking, speeding, accident with a fatality, and refusing to cooperate with police. My apologies for not giving more of the story up front.)

Comments (14)

Maybe uncle Teddy could bec... (Below threshold)

Maybe uncle Teddy could become His mentor? You know like been there done that. Wait, Teddy never did hard time did He?

Jay, what's your point? Tha... (Below threshold)

Jay, what's your point? That this Saudi Prince got off way too easy, and therefore the other middle eastern prisoners at Gitmo have it made? I am afraid I am having a hard time seeing the analogy. I mean, how do you make the connection between some alcoholic Saudi Prince with money, and the conditions at Gitmo? And did he really say the conditions in his jail are a little better than Gitmo, or did you just add that part to make a point? - I looked at your link and I didn't see it- Also, if in your post you were only trying to say that the Saudi legal system is messed up, then I stand corrected, as I think we can all agree on that. If not, and you were trying to make a pro Gitmo point, well....

Now for the record my position is clear on Gitmo; I don't think it's nearly as harsh as some of the administration's critics claim. And I am not as bothered by alleged human rights violations there, as I am for say, an innocent person being accused of a crime in state courts. But you seem to be really reaching to support your pro Gitmo position by using this news story. I am willing to bet, that those who take a contrary position on Gitmo will agree with you on this story. But like me, will be scratching their heads, while trying to figure out why you had to bring up Gitmo in the first place.

Field: I think Jay's saying... (Below threshold)

Field: I think Jay's saying that the prince is an *ss for claiming to be a victim (read the article) for being sentenced to one year in a cushy prison for killing a man.

Drunk or sober, some accide... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Drunk or sober, some accidents are unavoidable.

Jay, if you were driving and somebody darted or threw himself into your path, I would say you were a victim even if exonerated. Living with the horror, the self-doubt, and the messed up front end is not something you would deserve to live with.

The difference, it appears, is that you are assuming the driver's alcohol consumption had something to do with the cause of the accident--when it could have been a suicide for all we know. You also seem to be holding the Prince's wealth against him. WTF?

What's a young Muslim princ... (Below threshold)

What's a young Muslim prince doing late at night, drinking Johnnie Walker Black Label, getting behind the wheel and driving drunk? It's another case of too much money and not enough brains.

Prince Bader undoubtedly believes that the cash payment to the Ramos family evened the score. After all, that's what would do the trick in Saudi Arabia. Too, Bader is a Saudi royal while Ramos was some useless kaffir---a man of no consequence. No wonder the prince considers himself a victim.

Hmmmm.whe... (Below threshold)


when it could have been a suicide for all we know.

Let my derision wash over you.

you are assuming t... (Below threshold)
you are assuming the driver's alcohol consumption had something to do with the cause of the accident--when it could have been a suicide for all we know.

While I'm sure that it's true that a completely sober person has *the exact same reaction time* as a drunk person... oh, wait. That's not true at all, is it? So other than Prince "sowing his royal oats" Saud's statement that Ramos leaped in front of his car, has anybody, anywhere, suggested that he was suicidal? Anything at all to back that up? Anyone? Anyone?

Suicide Bader by SUV.... (Below threshold)

Suicide Bader by SUV.

I really can't judge from t... (Below threshold)

I really can't judge from the amount of information given. If it was impossible for him to stop, and would have been impossible if he was sober, then I think he's right and he's serving unjust time. On the other hand, if he could have stopped, or could have stopped had he been sober, then the fault is entirely his and he should be serving a couple dozen in medium or maximum-security.

If he had hit nothing and k... (Below threshold)

If he had hit nothing and killed no one, he was still driving under the influence and should be punished for it.

I agree with Laura - way to... (Below threshold)

I agree with Laura - way too many people think that it's ok to drive after drinking, because they think they have it under control. I know a few people who insist they drive much more CAREFULLY after pounding a few beers, so they are even LESS apt to cause an accident.

I bartended for many years, and drunks never ever think they've had too much. They get incredibly disgruntled and start calling the bartender names, which frankly, doesn't endear the drunk to the bartender and typically causes even LESS booze to flow in their direction. Much less.

Bottom line - I don't care who is rich and who is poor in this story. What I do care about is that it's clear there was some sort of jury trial or settlement, and he's doing time. He is guilty of drinking and driving.

What's a young Mus... (Below threshold)
What's a young Muslim prince doing late at night, drinking Johnnie Walker Black Label,
Indeed, such a "fine" example for those that adhere to the religion of Islam.

OH wait... that's wrong isn't it alcohol is forbbiden is't it?

But then again if you have ever watched the causeway traffic between Dahran SA and Bahrain on Wednesday as I have, you would know the line of Saudi cars goes for miles to partake of the beer, wine, and Johnny Walker Black that is available in abundence there.

Not to mention hitting on, and more (some not legal), the local population of Filipino and Thai grils.

1) If you are intoxicated ... (Below threshold)

1) If you are intoxicated and drive, anything bad that happens IS YOUR FAULT because you should not have been behind the wheel. Period. You folks above trying to make apologies for the driver are deadly. Don't encourage anyone to think there is ever an excuse to drive intoxicated. There isn't. Period.

2) Check into the penalty for drunk driving in Saudi. Certainly the system is corrupt there, but if an American was driving drunk and killed someone there, there is no amount of money that would get them out of jail and corporal, if not capital, punishment. This brat would have likely escaped such punishment in Saudi due to family connections, but you never know. And Saudi prisons are not like Martha's Vineyard.

The other part of the story... (Below threshold)

The other part of the story you have forgotten to add is that Mr. Ramos had been charged with jumping in front of two previous vehicles in the same area in an attempt to car jack those in the vehicle. The two previous vehicles had been luxury cars as well. Mr. Ramos also told his therapist that day that he had nothing to live for and did not want to go on with his life. These details have been kept largely secret by the family. This is why the sentence for Bader was so light. I may be biased as I know Bader personally, I met him after the accident, but I will say I have never seen someone suffer so much from something. He thinks about this everyday and you can see it in his eyes. Another thing to keep in mind is that the minimum penalty in the state of MA for this crime IS 1 year in prison.






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