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Seeking justice

Thursday, June 19, 2014

While we certainly understand Marilyn Bachman’s determination to see the young man who, allegedly killed her husband punished, we have no reason to doubt that the county prosecutor’s office fully intends to do that.

Bachman, widow of former Amherst Fire Chief John Bachman, recently wrote to the prosecutors telling them that she doesn’t want Travis Hobbs, charged in the death, to be “walking away from this without meaningful jail time and punishment.”

Her desire is understandable. None of us wants to see someone escape just punishment in a death, especially a death that appears to have been avoidable. It is alleged that Hobbs was using his cell phone while he was driving and as he struck Bachman.

To her credit, Bachman says she doesn’t feel hatred toward Hobbs.

From what we understand of this case so far, Hobbs, after allegedly striking Bachman while he was retrieving his mail from a roadside

mailbox, kept driving because he didn’t realize he had struck a person and told police he thought he had hit a snowbank.

Let us assume that is true. We still wonder why someone wouldn’t stop, if for no other reason than to check for damage on his car. Wouldn’t you want to know if you’d damaged the bumper, knocked out a headlight?

Had he done so, Marilyn Bachman wrote to the prosecutors, it is at least possible her husband would have survived because, she wrote, her husband did not die instantly. Had someone immediately called for an ambulance – clearly, of course, that someone being the person who hit him – he might have lived. That must be difficult for Marilyn Bachman to deal with, as “what ifs” always are and especially in a case like this.

We have no reason to doubt that prosecutors are going to move strongly on this case. Hobbs is, indeed, facing some serious jail time – up three-and-a-half years on each of the counts he faces, one of negligent homicide, the other of conduct after an accident – and there is a good chance he will go to jail if he is convicted.

And we hope that other drivers will take a message from what happened here: If you use your cell phone while you drive, you are courting disaster and not just for yourself.

Imagine having to live with that for the rest of your life. Sure, jail

is bad, but one day, you’ll get out, one day jail will be behind you.

But the death of another human being? Only the most callous could put that in the past.

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