A DEATH THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED
An Anchorage Daily News Editorial July 6, 2000
That Jessie Withrow died at 20 is bad enough. But that she died the
way she did is enough to make a peaceful person cry for blood, scream
for revenge, hear no pleas for mercy.
Jessie was riding her bike on the sidewalk along Minnesota Drive
Monday night. Russell D. Carlson crashed the pickup he was driving into
a car that had stopped for a red light. Then he crashed into Jessie.
Police say Mr. Carlson, 39, was drunk at the time. That’s not
surprising; since, according to police, Mr. Carlson had six previous
drunken driving convictions in Alaska. His license had been revoked.
Seems he was drunk more than he was sober on the road.
Mr. Carlson, we don’t want any excuses. We don’t want to hear about
your terrible childhood. We don’t want to hear about how hard you tried
to quit drinking. We don’t want to hear what hardship alcohol has
wrought on your life and on those who love you. We want this promising
young woman back. We want her to return for her junior year at Bates
College in the fall. We want her to have the chance to make it on the
dean’s list again. We want Jessie, who grew up in Anchorage, to
graduate and come back to town to find work. We want her to fall in
love and get married, maybe have children. We want her to pursue all
the dreams and adventures open to the intelligent, creative and
hard-working young woman she was. Bring Jessie back to her family. Give
her back her life. You can’t do that? Then you shouldn’t have been
drinking and driving.
Reprinted with the permission of the Anchorage Daily News