Two parents embraced outside a Douglas County courtroom Thursday afternoon: one, a mother whose son was just sentenced to jail.
The other, a father who will never see his daughter again.
Their conversation was private, but the moment even caused court employees to get choked up.
Minutes earlier, a Douglas County District Court judge had sentenced 22-year-old Joel Hernandez to six months in jail for drinking and driving and killing a 20-year-old Lawrence woman in October. The six-month sentence is the maximum allowed by law for a first-time misdemeanor DWI offense.
Hernandez, a former Haskell Indian Nations University student and a Lawrence High graduate, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, after reaching a deal with prosecutors in April.
Hernandez will be on probation for one year after his release from jail.
Judge Michael Malone also ordered Hernandez to complete 200 hours of community service and to pay a $500 fine.
Malone said he hoped the jail time would serve as a deterrent to Hernandez and anyone else considering getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Remember folks, if you ever want commit murder, do it behind the wheel; preferably with a bottle of booze in hand.
Our government’s constant pandering to the automobile seriously needs to end, and quickly.