On Friday dozens of people showed up in a DC courthouse for the sentencing of the man who killed our friend Dave Salovesh. We were there to console each other one more time, to support Dave’s family, and to bear witness to the inadequacy of the court to right a horrible wrong.
During the proceeding we learned that the killer was driving a stolen van at 78 miles per hour five seconds before he ran a red light, hit a car, and careened into Dave who was waiting at a stop light astride his bike. He was driving more than three times the speed limit.
The crowd of supporters was so big a separate, overflow courtroom was needed.
The hearing was a formality, but it gave Dave’s family an opportunity to express their feelings to the judge, to the community, and to Dave’s killer. Their statements were articulate and extremely moving. Boxes of tissues were passed up and down the aisles as we heard about every aspect of this tragedy.
The killer pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received an 8 1/2 year sentence for breaking every bone in a Dave’s body and snuffing his life out in a few, horrifying seconds. On Good Friday.
The killer didn’t get sentenced for devastating Dave’s family or for inflicting bewildering sadness on the vast community of Dave’s friends.
As I left the courthouse it occurred to me that it was five years ago nearly to the day that the best friend of a friend of mine was killed by a transit bus as she made her way home from the Metro. The randomness and finality of it all was incomprehensible to me.
Some things never change.