Family of Salem drunken driving crash victim storms out of court, saying driver’s sentence was too light
SALEM — The family of a 19-year-old Danvers man killed in a car crash in June lashed out today at the woman who drove the vehicle while drunk and plowed it into a parked tow truck, saying her plea deal of two years behind bars was just a “slap on the wrist.”
“Where’s the justice for my son?” Cherie Rubner, 44, the mother of Dillon P. Renard, said outside Salem District Court.“My son didn’t deserve this. He’s gone and she’ll be out soon.”
Renard was riding in the car driven by 25-year-old Angelique Griffin. Griffin pleaded guilty today to motor vehicle homicide while operating drunk, as well as negligent operation.
According to Essex prosecutors, Griffin had a blood alcohol level of .14 after the June 16 crash and admitted to police that she was driving the car after she drank two beers and two vodka drinks mixed with Red Bull.
While prosecutors said they arrived at the plea agreement after lengthy conversation with Renard’s family, Rubner and other relatives said they expected that the judge would reject the agreement and prosecutors would seek an indictment in Superior Court, which would have subjected Griffin to a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
After several relatives gave victim impact statements in court and the judge accepted Griffin’s change of plea to guilty, Rubner and Renard’s aunts, brother, and other relatives and friends rose to their feet and yelled out at Griffin, sitting not far away.
“I hope you get hit by a car when you get out,” one unidentified male shouted.
According to authorities, Griffin drove her car into a flatbed tow truck parked on Boston Street in Salem around 3:30 a.m. June 16. The flatbed pierced the hood of the car before slamming into Renard, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. He was killed instantly.
On a website set up after Renard’s death, his family said they wanted Griffin sentenced to the maximum 15 years
“He decided to get a ride home with Angelique Griffin unaware of how intoxicated she was and because of this woman’s choice to drink and drive Dillon never made it home that night,’’ the family wrote.
On the website, justicefordillon.com, His uncle, Donnie, wrote an acrostic using his nephew’s first and last names, which read in part:
Remember for always...the good times we’ve shared, and not how my life has ended
Enjoy all the memories we’ve had together, in time your hearts will have mended.
Now let me get going, I’ll just be asleep...Don’t worry, I soon hope to rise;
And If it’s God’s will, since he is the judge...I’ll wake up in Paradise.
Remember my friends, I love you all…Reach your dreams and may your lives thrive;
Do it for me please, and keep my advice…Call a cab, and Don’t drink and drive!