Loretta Robinson of Greenville, SC received some of the most devastating news a parent could receive last year. Her oldest son was killed in a drunk driving accident, one which he didn’t cause but one which an undocumented woman without a valid South Carolina driver’s license, driving drunk caused.
‘I never would have imagined getting that call,’ she tearfully recalled. ‘Never in one million years expected that.’
The unlicensed driver of the vehicle was sentenced to 17 years in prison last week. But that’s not the end of Loretta’s story. Loretta was present at the sentencing as is her right, and she showed the judge many pieces of mail she had received since her son’s death. But these pieces of mail were not for support or sympathy, but actually bills, invoices and demands for payment for charges resulting from the accident.
WHAT? Yes, she is receiving bills for an accident that her son died in and that he was an innocent victim of. But the bills aren’t from an insurance company or the drunk driver’s family. They are actually from a variety of “service providers.” The mother of this victim is being charged for the clean up of her son’s accident. Yes, billed to clean up the damages of the accident her family was devastated by.
Robinson had to pay to have her son’s car towed, removed from the scene and stored in case they needed it for a trial.
She was then charged $50 to have the street cleaned of her son’s blood. She said that one stung the most, “”First of all, having to open the mail and look at the charge to the deceased, Justin Darryl Walker — the deceased! It’s just a hard thing to deal with in the context of your child.”
According to the Huffington Post “The South Carolina State Office of Victims Assistance offers a combined total of up to $15,000 for medical, funeral, counseling and wage compensation for the families of victims of crime. According to NBC Greenville, Robinson received some money (emphasis added) from the victim’s assistance office, but it did not cover the costs of cleanup or storage.”
Many of us know that funeral charges can be expensive. I doubt if the assistance has covered all the emotional, mental and physical distress – not to mention lost wages this mother had endured.
I thought this story was just so sad. There are so many things that this woman has to deal with and yet this is added to her burden to carry. I have to wonder why she would be financially responsible? After all the local law enforcement required the removal, towing and storage as a part of the chain of evidence. Isn’t it their responsibility to handle those charges?
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