I witnessed something very sad recently -it broke my heart. I sat in the hallway off of a courtroom in Trumbull County with my sister and her children watching them struggle to prepare themselves to face the man who is responsible for their husband and father's death.
The hearing was set for 1 p.m.
My sister's husband is Bob Lucarell. He was killed last July 5, 2012, by a man who fell asleep at the wheel of a semi-truck, crossed the median on I-80 near the Girard exit and slammed into Bob's pickup truck, killing him.
Bob was on his way to work that afternoon at the toll booth interchange on I-80. He kissed my sister, his wife of 40 years, as he left for work that day. The next time she saw him was in his casket.
The man who killed Bob, Richard Pacholski of North Carolina, was charged with a misdemeanor. Even though he signed the confession admitting guilt, even though he admitted just hours before to someone that he was tired, even though there are other issues that may or may not have contributed to his tiredness, this man - a professional driver - got behind the wheel of his 32,000- to 80,000-pound (approximate empty weight to approximate fully-loaded weight) semi-truck and got on a freeway full of other vehicles that were full of people.
Besides the obvious, another sad thing about the day was, other than Bob's family, no one was there. Not even the man responsible for his death. He, Mr. Pacholski, had another engagement. It seems that was more important than facing the family of the man whose life he took, more important than answering for his action of July 5, 2012.
And not one member of the media was there - not a newspaper reporter, not a TV reporter - no one. They were all there the day Bob was killed. I remember the news broadcasts, the fiery, smoky scenes - one local TV station still uses the footage in one of their promos - and the story in the newspapers. Yet none of them seem to care about the results of that day other than a man was killed.
This isn't about truck drivers. I think most of them are good, hardworking people just trying to make a living. I am proud to say that my father was a truck driver for most of his life.
This is about people no longer caring once the sensationalized part of the story has been told. This is about a man named Bob Lucarell - a man who has a wife, children and grandchildren. He had a life. Bob touched a lot of lives. That was obvious by the more than 1,000 people who came to his funeral. A lot of people cared when he died. Doesn't anyone care now? Doesn't anyone want to know the end of this awful story?
The next court hearing is Aug. 14 at 1 p.m. at Girard Court.