The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lock Him Up and Throw Away the Key

It seems to me that life has become cheaper, nastier, shorter and more brutish in the last 5 years. first we have human behavior after New Orleans. We have our reprehensible behavior towards suspects in the war on terror and suspected 'enemies of the state.' We have more poor people. More people without health care. Now folks are hoarding flu medicines and can you blame them? Why should they think that any kind of organized and reasonable response to a crisis will be forthcoming from our revenue starved and incompetently run government. Still, in spite of this I read the article below and say "what do you mean he's not a monster?"

Drivers told cops of run-ins with road-rage murder suspect
By Amy Herdy Denver Post Staff Writer

Looking back, Michael Clark realizes things could have turned out in a more frightening way.

On July 5, Clark was driving south on E-470 when a man in a pickup truck tailgated him and then nearly hit his car, blaring his truck's horn and extending his middle finger at Clark, who was left shaking and angry.

"I've been driving for 30 years, and this was one of the most aggressive drivers I'd ever seen," Clark, 46, who is in the Air Force, recalled of that afternoon. He immediately called 911, wrote down the truck's license plate and reported the incident.

Later, Clark discovered that State Patrol officers identified the driver of the truck as Parker resident Jason Benjamin Reynolds, 32, a heavy-equipment operator charged with murder in a Nov. 8 road-rage incident on E-470 that killed two people.

In the past two years, records show, Reynolds has been reported to law enforcement in seven other incidents of alleged aggression and violence, with most stemming from his actions while he was behind the wheel of either his Ford pickup or Jeep Wrangler.

"He's pretty scary," Clark said. "The guy needs to be removed from society for a while."

On Wednesday, the day he was due to be sentenced for a July reckless-driving charge in Douglas County, Reynolds instead stood in an Arapahoe County courtroom, charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of vehicular homicide in the Nov. 8 deaths of Greg Boss, 35, of Lone Tree and Kelvin Norman, 50, of Highlands Ranch.

Reynolds is being held without bond. Both he and his family were in shock over the murder charges, said his attorney, Michael Steinberg.

"He is stunned. His family is stunned," Steinberg said, adding that the media has wrongly depicted his client as someone without a conscience.

"He is someone who cares very deeply about the other individuals and the families involved," he said. "He's being portrayed as a monster, and he's not."

Family members of the deceased men declined to comment.

The arrest affidavit in the case quotes a witness saying that Reynolds was driving his Jeep Wrangler southbound on E-470 shortly after 5 p.m. when he began to tailgate Norman before passing him and then swerving back in front of him, slamming on his brakes. Reynolds later told investigators his boot became jammed on his brake pedal while changing gears. He claimed that Norman intentionally rammed him.
According to the witness, Norman swerved to avoid Reynolds and then lost control of his Toyota 4Runner, which hit the rear of Reynolds' Jeep before it flipped and landed upside down in the northbound lanes on top of a Ford Explorer driven by Boss, who died in the collision.

Norman, who was wearing a seat belt, was "explosively ejected" by the force of the impact, which also decapitated and dismembered him, the report said.

A tow-truck driver called after the accident, Joseph Wentz, 35, described Reynolds' demeanor at the scene as "very aggressive and almost heartless."

"His response to the fact that the man in the 4Runner had died was, 'I hope it doesn't seem mean, but he got what he deserved and what he had coming,"' the arrest affidavit shows.

One investigator noted that during his interview at the scene, Reynolds "seemed irritated and his attitude was indifferent to the deceased drivers of the other vehicles."

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