This is from the Duluth News Tribune.
Gronski started the night of Oct. 30 drinking at the establishment where she worked as a waitress and then drove to a nearby bar. She said the volume of alcohol she drank that night was what she would drink on a routine weekend night.
She said she didn’t recall getting into her vehicle. She remembered being behind the wheel for a split second and remembered something hitting her windshield. She didn’t remember anything else.
She said she thought she hit a deer.
Balluff had a smile on his face and talked to just about anyone who came his way Monday in the courthouse. But he turned serious when asked to talk about the accident and how his life has changed.
“It is a tragedy in my family because they don’t have a normal life now because I have to have 24-hour supervision,” he said.
His feelings toward Gronski?
“I want her to sit in jail for life even though she won’t get that because she didn’t kill me,” he said.
When told that Gronski has expressed her remorse to her attorney and to others for what she did, Balluff said:
“She was drunk so I don’t care how she feels. If she was drunk and didn’t drive then I wouldn’t care. If I was hit by a non-drunk person then it’s not really their fault, it’s probably mine.”
Balluff’s aunt, Katherine Taylor, a home builder from Loretto, Minn., said a drunk driver destroyed her nephew’s dreams.
“The Alex that we knew before was every parent’s dream teenager,” Taylor said. “The Alex that we have today is impaired for life. He has no memory. He cannot retain current conversations or activities. He will require parental care for the rest of his life and the career that he once dreamed of cannot be.”
It's noble to think that this story will stop people from getting behind the wheel when they've been drinking, but we have no evidence that this will actually happen.
I get that we don't need to treat first-time offenders worse than repeat violators, but can we do more than just whack someone on the wrist for taking the livelihood of someone else away with behavior that was selfish, careless, and incredibly stupid?
Call it "bad judgment" if you want, but it doesn't take away the fact that Alex Baluff's life was practically ruined on this night, and the person who did it isn't going to spend one hour in prison.
That's not justice. That's wrong.
Do me a favor. Think about this story every time you make plans to go out with your friends.