Compassion is a valuable lesson

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An 84-year-old man, infirmed, sorrowful and remorseful, admitted his guilt Tuesday that his actions led to the death of Virginia State Trooper Robert A. Hill Sr. last year.

The man, who will not be identified again in this space, drove his car into Hill as the trooper made a traffic stop of another car.

The man pleaded to a lesser charge. His sentence included a fine, suspended jail time and suspension of his license.

It was a plea agreed to by the trooper’s widow, the state and, we assume, the fellow troopers who are using the incident to promote the state’s “Move-Over Law,” designed to increase safety for officers who make traffic stops on roadways.

A greater sentence could have been imposed on the defendant, but compassion rightfully reigned.

case to be satisfactory, noting that he had spoken to Trooper Hill’s widow, who he said “was not interested in a jail sentence” for Carrington. “This was acceptable to her.”

“As far as the criminal process goes,” he said, “this ends a tragic incident.”

Cooke and others say that something positive that could come out of Hill’s death would be a broader knowledge and understanding of Virginia’s “Move-Over Law.”

Trooper John A. Brown Jr., one of Hill’s best friends, is working with a group that hopes to get signs put up around the state reminding drivers about the statute.

“It is my hope that Trooper Hill’s death and this prosecution will raise the awareness level of the general public, both to the dangers faced by law enforcement and emergency workers on a daily basis as they perform their jobs so close to moving traffic, and of drivers’ responsibility and legal duty to move over to prevent such tragedies in the future,” Cooke said recently.