I so wanted to just let this whole tragic story go, get a little closure, and move on.
However, after reading what Manuel Contreras-Galdean said at his sentencing today, I need just one more dose of alcoholic addiction therapy, if you too need help use this link.
Those that have read here for a little while may remember me writing about the tragic death of sixteen year old Kelly Tracy. Kelly was a member of the Highland High School Marching Band who was killed by a drunk driver on November 15, 2008 at 6:30 in the morning while she was on her way to join her band mates as they prepared to march in the Gilbert Days Parade.
My daughter is in the Highland Band and Francy and I were volunteer band parents that day.
Trust me when I tell you that you don’t ever, EVER want to be in a room with 150 kids when they are told their friend has been killed. I don’t have the vocabulary or writing skills to express the sorrow and sadness we all felt that morning. The kids were utterly and completely devastated. Kelly was an incredibly gifted musician, a friend to all, and many are still struggling trying to cope with her senseless and tragic death after a pedestrian accident. As unimaginable as it was for the kids that day, I suspect you can multiply that a thousand-fold and not even remotely approach how Kelly’s parents and family feel.
Today, 496 days after Kelly died, Contreras-Galdean was finally sentenced to 14 years in prison and 4 years of probation — the maximum allowed under terms of his plea agreement.
If he had stood in front of the judge, and in front of Kelly’s parents and simply said, “I screwed up. I made a horrible mistake and I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to you” then maybe I could have a little sympathy for this man.
Instead, according to the report from Emily Gersema with the Arizona Republic (who has done a remarkable job covering this story from Day 1), Contreras-Galdean doesn’t think he is a criminal, blames his attorney and says:
that he believed the crash was an unpreventable accident, that the light at Sossaman and Guadalupe roads in Mesa was yellow but turned red as he was heading left, that he wasn’t high on cocaine and wasn’t drunk but had suffered an undiagnosed head injury.
An unpreventable accident? Are you freaking kidding me? It’s 6:30 in the morning and you blow a 0.19 blood-alcohol content ”“ two and a half times the legal limit ”“ and you’re high on cocaine and you call this an “unpreventable accident”??
And you have the unmitigated gall to stand in a courtroom and say, “I was hoping today to remove this burden – this burden I’m carrying knowing I’m not the criminal the prosecution made me out to be”.
YOU are carrying a burden because you think you aren’t a criminal? What kind of burden do you think Kelly’s parents are carrying? How about Kelly’s brother Matt, who was driving that morning when your drunk, high on coke worthless ass slammed into them? How about all of Kelly’s friends and family that think about her all the time and wonder what kind of woman she would have become?
Your burden? Screw you Manuel Contreras-Galdean. It is WAY past time for you to man up to what you did. You’re a pathetic excuse for a human being and 14 years isn’t even close to what you deserved.
To top it all off, this wasn’t the first time you’ve been caught driving drunk. You were convicted of first offense dui in 2001 in Utah, and again in 2007 in Tempe. You are in this country illegally, you’ve been deported before, yet you crawl back over the border and continue to drink and drive and you killed an incredibly talented and gifted young lady who had her whole life ahead of her. You’ve been caught driving drunk three times. How many times did you drive drunk and not get caught?
If you or any of your love ones have been hit by a drunk driver and got injuries because of that, injury attorney providence ri can help you fighting for justice.
You ask for leniency because you have aging grandparents, a wife in Mexico, and children. Well at least your children are alive. Maybe you should have thought about your grandparents, wife and kids BEFORE you crawled behind the wheel drunk and high (AGAIN) and killed someone.
You make excuses about your lawyer. You make excuse about some “undiagnosed head injury”. You say you weren’t drunk. Yet someone claiming to be part of your family came on this very blog and left a comment saying, “ALCOHOL WAS JUST AN ADDICTION HE WAS TRYING TO PUT OFF WITH HE WANTED TO QUITE BT WAS SOMETHING THAT HIS FRIENDS WOULD ALWAYS DO AND FRIENDS ARE SOMETIMES WHAT PUT YOU THROUGH THE WRONG PATH .IT WAS NOT MANUELS INTENTIION TO MAKE CRASH THAT ACCIDENT”.
But it’s not your fault. You aren’t a criminal. You had a bad lawyer. Your family member also blames your friends, they even blame KELLY for not wearing her seat belt, and they claim she would have made it if they’d taken her to the right hospital. I guess your family member is an emergency room surgeon now. (Both claims were later refuted by a commenter going by “A Friend of the Tracy’s”.)
Good grief. You blame everyone but yourself. A family member of yours blames everyone, INCLUDING THE VICTIM, but you.
YOU killed Kelly Tracy. YOU chose to drink and drive. YOU snorted cocaine. YOU killed Kelly.
The Tracy family has forgiven you. Their faith is amazing. Hopefully your sentencing will provide them some closure. It’s just a shame you can only blame everyone but yourself. Maybe someday in the next 14 years you’ll become man enough to admit what you did. Maybe.
But somehow, I doubt it.
Here is the press release from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Oh man…very sorry to read this. I have two daughters and-as you understand-one never really experiences vulnerability until having children. It is stories like this that bring me back to my one cause: loving my family. Power to Kelly Tracy's family.
aMY L cavENDER says
Jay – I think it was right when I started following you on twitter that this horrific accident happened. Brought tears to my eyes then and reading this post brought them again. I hope the POS that killed Kelly reads this post every single flipping day. I am channeling your anger towards his jail cell. May your community and family find closure the loser obviously wasn't able to provide today. An apology certainly may have gone a long way.
James Malanowski says
Unfortunately, his attitude does not surprise me. I hope he serves the full term … at least he'll be off the road.
Someone should give the inmates a heads up that he killed a young girl and then maybe some real justice will get served.
.-= James Malanowski´s last blog ..THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BIG-BOX BROKERAGE =-.
San Diego Real Estat says
Totally stinks that you write about something like this but good job Jay for bringing more attention to this difficult situation. If it gets through to one person than it helps.
@ James, I'm not sure about AZ but I have a good friend here in CA who works in corrections and it's my understanding that you wear a color wrist band based on your crime. Woman and children are one color and there is no hiding it from the other inmates.
The whole story just stinks! 🙁
.-= San Diego Real Estate News´s last blog ..Real Estate Short Sale Questions & Answers =-.
C Brodeur says
What a miserable excuse for a human being. It makes me sick that he will be out and walking around in 14 years. As a mother, I can't imagine the pain Kelly's parents are feeling.
.-= C Brodeur´s last blog ..Is My Grayhawk Home a Cream Puff or a Lemon? =-.
Candice :) says
Oh man. I remember this. What a narcissistic bastard.
.-= Candice :)´s last blog ..You May Have More Purchasing Power Than You Think! =-.
Marc Brodeur says
I hope he gets what he deserve in prison. They should have let him rot in prison until the end of time.
.-= Marc Brodeur´s last blog ..The Phoenix Camelback Corridor Is Being Leased =-.
Every time I mention my opinion on the subject, I get dozens of people telling me I'm wrong. But if there was ever a case for not only the death penalty, but public execution, this is it.
People say the death penalty doesn't work. I say it doesn't work because we don't use it enough, and when we do use it, it's late at night, behind closed doors, away from the eye of the general public. So people don't SEE the consequences of the most egregious actions of the basest members of 'society' (and I use that term loosely).
What happened to Kelly is tragic and ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE. If Manuel can't/won't accept what he did and learn from his (multiple) mistakes, maybe he can serve a purpose in educating others. He can live forever as of an example of how you don't want to end up.
Something tells me Sheriff Joe would be happy to oblige.
Joe Pryor says
Jay, I have read your many post and have enjoyed your commentary, and left it at that without a comment. This is the first time I read about this tragedy. I know the words were hard to come by for you and I believe that some words you would have like to have said that you held back. My only wish is that this creep didn't get the benefit of ourprison sysytem. Send him back to Mexico and let him spend his 14 years there in misery. Maybe if he was there to suffer he could at least start feeling the emotion of her family, and the grief that will never go away. Then maybe he could sincerely say, I'm sorry and mean it. Doesn't bring her back but at least it apologizes for the insult of his statement.
Reuben Macias says
It is too bad he cannot do hard time in a Mexican prison. He will have it too good here IMO…
GA Short Sale Agent says
Sad story, taken in her prime. We see stories like this all the time. With an attitude like he has, he'll have a lot of fun in prison getting the crap beat out of him.
.-= GA Short Sale Agent´s last blog ..Applications for Purchase Mortgages Up 6.8%. What’s the Deal? =-.
Susan Zanzonico says
This is a very sad story and such a waste of a young girl's life. It is compounded by the fact that this guy doesn't even show any remorse. Drunk and on cocaine at 6:30 a.m.!! Plus not the first offense. Thank goodness he'll be off the streets for 14 years. My heart goes out to Kelly's family and friends.
I can't stand reading these stories. So sad. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.
The people commenting sound just as sadistic as him . So what the guy doesnt show remorse, will it make you feel better he says it and still dont mean it . Ted bundy said all the right things too and kill 20 or more woman , so what is you point.