Charge from fatal crash questioned by many

Monday, December 17, 2001

Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney Morley Swingle's decision to file a careless and imprudent driving charge against a 16-year-old girl who was driving a car in which her 11-year-old sister was killed has prompted a good deal of public outcry against his decision.

The girl faces a misdemeanor charge in connection with the Nov. 20 accident along County Road 230 west of Cape Girardeau that also injured two other teen-age passengers. The prosecutor contends the girl was speeding when the car went off a curve and struck a tree.

The father of the girl expressed dismay over filing of the charge, saying his daughter has been punished enough by the death of her sister. Similar opinions have been expressed in numerous calls to The Southeast Missourian Speak Out line and letters to the newspaper's editor.

In this case one can ask: Would there have been such public outcry if the girl had not been charged?

We think not.

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