When a drunk driver kills someone, that’s about as bad as it can get, right? I mean, an individual is no longer alive simply due to one person’s entirely selfish actions.
Nowadays, it’s easy to call a taxi or an Uber if you’ve overindulged. So the act of getting behind the wheel after you’ve imbibed has no justification as far as I can see.
But a case out of Redford Township, Michigan, shows that there is something worse than drunk driving, and that’s failing to take it seriously after it costs someone his life.
The case started on June 23, 2016. According to WDIV, a 25-year-old woman who would later be identified as Amanda Kosal struck another vehicle in the early hours of the morning. Her car had drifted into the oncoming lane and hit a pickup truck head-on.
The driver of that truck was a 31-year-old named Jerome Zirker. He’d been in the car with his fiancé, 31-year-old Brittany Johnson.
Johnson was injured, but the wreck killed Zirker. While it’s hard to find a bright lining in such tragic news, there was one positive: Zirker didn’t bring their children along that night.
See, he was on his way to pick up Johnson from a late-night shift, and he normally brought their five children along with him. “Luckily, they were at grandma’s house or it would have been all of us,” Johnson told WDIV.
Kosal would eventually plead guilty to driving under the influence. She also wept in court, but her family members hardly showed the same remorse.
According to CBS News, some of Kosal’s relatives started laughing on February 24, 2017, as Zirker’s family read their impact statement about how the wreck had damaged their lives. But Judge Qiana Lillard would have none of the disruption.
Lillard interrupted the statements and motioned to a man who was laughing, saying, “It’s time for him to go. … In the entire time that Mr. Zirker’s sister was speaking, that clown — and that’s what I am going to call him, a clown — was sitting there smiling and laughing.”
Then she turned her wrath on Kosal’s mother, Donna Kosal. “And you can go, too. Because if you don’t know how to act, you can go to jail. …
“This is a court of law. And these are very serious matters.
“I understand that you all are very upset because your loved one is going to prison, but guess what? She’s going to prison for the choices that she made.
“These people are here grieving, saddened because a senseless act took away their loved one and you’re sitting here acting like it’s a joke? Not in Courtroom 502. Not today and not any other day.”
That quip about jail wasn’t a throwaway line by Lillard. She ended up sentencing Donna Kosal to 93 days in Wayne County Jail for criminal contempt.
Donna Kosal apparently learned her lesson, because she apologized when she appeared before Lillard the next day and saw her sentence reduced to a single day. Meanwhile, Amanda Kosal was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison for her part in Zirker’s death.
Judge Lillard took to Facebook after the video of ordeal went viral to thank the millions of viewers who reached out and commended her for her actions.
“Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit this page to express your feelings,” she wrote. “I am honored to have the privilege of serving the citizens of Wayne County.”
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