At the time I wrote my previous blog posting on this subject, I also wrote a letter to Mr. Bob Hermann who is the Washington County Oregon District Attorney. Please refer to my Previous Blog Entry for the links to the Willamette Week and OregonBlue articles.

Let me quote three items from Mr. Hermann’s response to my letter to him:

“Unfortunately the information reported by Ms. Axtman and the Willamette Week is inaccurate in some critical areas.” “Additionally the charges the grand jury issued were not reported fully or at all.” And: Ms. Aguilar-Gutierrez was arrested for reckless driving and causing injury to a child, subsequently charged by the grand jury for those same reasons. That part of the ‘facts’ were not reported.”

I should have held my tongue until I had my response from Mr. Hermann. I should have realized that the grand jury would not have agreed on the charges without a strong case from the DA’s office.

Because this incident involves a minor and because the case is open pending trial, Mr. Hermann could not comment fully on all the circumstances. But after reading his letter, I can see that the DA’s office is proceeding properly and within the law.

In my working years (I am now retired) I worked in the insurance industry for 15 years with about 5 of those years actively handling or reviewing accident claims. In all those years I can recall no criminal charges arising out of an automobile accident claim processed by me or that I handled unless there were extenuating circumstances such as drunk driving. The public’s attitude on these matters seems to be changing. Beyond simple negligence, if you are overly reckless in your driving habits and cause injury to another person, particularly a minor, you may be charged with a criminal offence.

I have learned a lesson here. Make sure I have all the facts before I lash out.

Yesenia Aguilar Gutierrez has been charged with felony to commit domestic violence in front of a minor as the result of an automobile accident arising out of the negligence of the driver, Gutierrez. Here is the LINK to the original story in the Willamette Week – Online from November 11, 2009. And here is a LINK to a follow-up article on OregonBlue.com with information about the origin of the law under which Gutierrez was charged.

If you read both the articles (no, I’m not going to quote them both here) I think that you will agree that the Washington County Assistant DA Jason Weiner has gone wacko. I can see thousands of criminal cases now being brought because a minor has witnessed an automobile accident.

This case will ultimately be thrown out by any appeals court that sees it. In the meantime, Gutierrez has to live with a possible felony conviction looming in the air. Shame on the Washington County DA’s office for even considering bringing this case against any person. It is a waste of tax money, it is a crime against Gutierrez, and it is just plain bad practice by the DA’s office.