There was a terrible but avoidable tragedy that occurred last week on I-95 in North Stonington, CT.
Three people died in a head-on crash that involved a wrong-way driver on Interstate-95 in North Stonington Wednesday night, according to state police. Troopers identified the three victims as 85-year-old Roger Noel of West Warwick, RI, 83-year-old Dorothy Noel of West Warwick, RI, and 17-year-old Abigayl Lanphear of Westerly, RI. Lanphear, according to the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles, was driving with a suspended license.
State police said they received phone calls around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday about a driver headed in the wrong direction. Shortly after, two vehicles were involved in a head-on crash between Exit 93 and Exit 92. During their investigation, police determined Lanphear drove the wrong-way in a 2002 Mercedes Benz CLK. Lanphear was headed southbound in the northbound lanes and crashed into a 2017 Honda Accord driven by Roger Noel. A passenger in the Mercedes Benz CLK, 17-year-old Jada Laboy of Westerly, RI, suffered serious injuries.
I was hesitant to publish a story on this because it’s such a tragedy. However, it seems like the girl who caused the crash is being treated as a victim in this, when in fact she died a killer. She was clearly a troubled child since she had a suspended license at the age of 17. And according to Westerly Sun the Abby Lanphear was a high school dropout too.
Lanphear was no longer a student in the Westerly Public Schools, having left last year to pursue a GED, according to Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau. He learned of Lanphear’s death when Chief of Police Shawn Lacey called him at about 10 p.m. Wednesday night to inform him of the crash.
The passenger in her car who lived is a frequent runaway.
I think it’s more than fair to speculate on whether or not drugs or alcohol were involved in this crash. Going the wrong way on the highway is not something a sober person does. There are wrong way signs getting onto the highway, and the cars with lights on coming at you should’ve been an indicator as well. Clearly this girl lived life on the wild side and was self-destructing. It’s a shame that two innocent people had to die alongside of her.
Yet on the local Facebook groups it seems as if any mention of wrongdoing on her part is quickly shot down.
I somewhat feel sympathy because a teenager died. There was a slight chance she’d turn her life around and become a productive, law abiding member of society. But there was a much better chance that she’d end up becoming someone like Gina Giovangelo, who killed a woman in a crosswalk when she was 18 and has had non-stop run-ins with the law after fleeing the courthouse during her arraignment.
More importantly, I don’t understand why the parents are getting a free pass here. Whose car was it? Why was a 17 year old with a suspended license and a bad track record allowed to drive their car? If she stole it then why wasn’t it reported stolen? Why did they let her drop out of school in the first place?
By the looks of her mother’s Facebook page she treated her daughter like a friend, and has received an outpouring of sympathy since she changed her profile picture last week.
But not one person on her page has expressed any sympathy for the two people she killed. This wasn’t an accident, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If my kids grow up to be rebellious like this they will not be afforded any sort of freedom or privileges until they’re old enough to move out of the house. That’s what a responsible parent who cares about their children does. If you can see your child is self-destructive then you protect them by not allowing them to hang out with their runaway friends and drive a Mercedes.
So yes, I think judging here is perfectly acceptable. Sure, it’s sad that a child has died, but she died a killer, and I have no sympathy for her in that regard. More importantly I’m just disgusted by the fact that the mother is being treated as a victim here when her lack of parenting played a factor in this, instead of the two innocent people who died.
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