The News Reporter
The photo of Natalie Housand on the front of Monday’s edition, which accompanied a story on the conviction of a migrant worker who killed her while he was driving drunk, is a solemn reminder of the toll DWI takes on people’s lives.
Housand — pretty, smart, kind and in the prime of life -— was unable to get out of the way of a car driven by a drunk Jose Lopez. Lopez hit Housand’s car head-on and fled the scene on foot. As is so often the case, the drunks are the ones who escape deadly crashes relatively unscathed.
Lopez got a lighter sentence for a manslaughter conviction instead of the second degree murder conviction sought by the DA’s office. The jury should not be blamed. They reached the decision they saw fit according to the evidence and testimony,
Instead, North Carolina needs to focus attention on fatal wrecks caused by drinking and driving — and particularly those caused by internationals who drink and drive. Maybe some of these crashes could be prevented.
We don’t have formal statistics for Columbus County, but ask any state trooper or EMS worker, and they’ll confirm that an inordinate number of internationals — in the case here, Hispanic drivers — cause many serious or fatal crashes where innocent people are involved.
Housand’s death and another crash on N.C. 211 near Clarkton last year in which a young woman lost her life to a drunk Hispanic driver are similar. In both cases, the wrecks occurred on straight stretches of highway.
Also last year, an 85-year-old woman was killed by a drunk Hispanic driver near Nakina. He has since jumped bail and cannot be found.
North Carolina is notorious for the ease by which internationals can obtain drivers licenses. That must change.
State troopers relate that many internationals drive without a license. This also must be dealt with harshly. Deportation for non-citizens should be an immediate option.
Killing someone while driving drunk is almost viewed as unavoidable and expected nowadays, but victims like Natalie Housand are just as dead as if they’d had been murdered with a gun.
White, black or Hispanic, tougher DWI laws are needed; yet, it’s hard to escape the fact that — given the number of tragedies caused by drunk internationals driving on North Carolina’s highways — fewer innocent people would come in harm’s way if some of the bullets — drunk drivers — were removed from behind the wheel.
An editorial I can agree with. As soon as Jose's jail time is over he should be put on a bus and driven back to Mexico. Then told in plain english that he is never to cross the over into the US again. Any illegal/immigrant/guest worker/undeclared immigrant/miggrant or whatever you call them commits a crime on American soil the final step for justice should be deportation without the option to ever return. Period. I don't care how many years he has lived here with his family, kick him out.