Five dead on 1-280 Michael Gagnon of Adrian Michigan Responsible


Michael Gagnon of Adrian, Michigan, has fun, gets drunk, decides to drive completely wasted then murders a whole family and today will probably not remember any of it. 1 fun night, 2 moronic decisions, 5 people dead, dozens of people's lives changed forever.
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Bethany Griffin's Myspace Page
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendi...
See the beautiful photos of a family that is now destroyed. Truly sad especially seeing the photo of Vadi looking at you. Also from there:

"Dan has some broken vertabrae in his neck and is recovering as well as can be expected. He should be fine.
Sydney is recovering from a lacerated liver."

"When I asked about Beau...he said

he is doing good."
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Donate and/or leave a message:
http://myspace.com/bhjlv
http://www.nemsys.com/fund
http://swampbubbles.com/helping-griffin-family-i-280-accident-victims
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Event he was at??:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendi...

Brother Sam's myspace page (Obviously a major drinker if you look at the photos):
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendi...
Photos of Michael were found on Sister's myspace page.
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1/1-
Toledo Blade has a nice summary of the tragedy.
Something noted:

Chief Spann said Mr. Gagnon was aware the accident caused the deaths, and was uncooperative and belligerent when he spoke with investigators.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080101/NEWS03/67...

Baltimore Sun's article talks more about the family:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.crash01jan01,0,5407337....

Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080101/NEWS05/80101031...
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In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Michael Gagnon's brother, Samuel, said he, his brother and a number of cousins were partying at a hotel near Toledo where they had rented a room. Samuel Gagnon said his brother -- who wasn't supposed to be driving -- abruptly left the party without telling anyone.

Police said the tragedy began when Gagnon left a bar in Oregon, Ohio -- identified by some reports as the Rodeo Bar -- and headed to a nearby Taco Bell.

According to reports in the Toledo Blade, remnants of Christmas wrapping were strewn about the scene, as were toys, stuffed animals, luggage, and baby effects, including a damaged infant seat surrounded by pink blankets. Toledo fire Lt. Luis Santiago said the crash was "one of the most tragic" he had ever seen.

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/UPDATE/712310401/...
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"I don't know why he decided to leave," the younger Gagnon said. "Everyone's in shock. We're supposed to be celebrating the New Year, but now I got to look forward to my brother in jail the rest of his life."


Worried, Gagnon said he called his brother's cell phone. He said his brother answered the phone and simply said, "Sorry, bro." Later, a Fire Department official got on the phone and said his brother had been in an accident.

Gagnon said his brother had planned to travel to Iowa two days ago to start work in the construction business. But he delayed his trip for unknown reasons. "I wish he had just left," Gagnon said. He said he and family members tried to visit his brother at the hospital but were not allowed to see him.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_county/bal-crash1231,0,...
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"I don't know why he decided to leave," Samuel Gagnon, 21, told the newspaper by telephone. "Everyone's in shock. We're supposed to be celebrating the New Year, but now I got to look forward to my brother in jail the rest of his life."

Their sister, who is pregnant, was supposed to drive them home, but Gagnon said he discovered that his brother had abruptly left and had taken his pickup truck, which they use for their construction business in Adrian. Worried, Gagnon said he called his brother's cell phone.

He said his brother answered the phone and simply said: "Sorry, bro."

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/UPDATE/712310...
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Investigators say Gagnon allegedly left a bar in Oregon, Ohio. He stopped at a Taco Bell on Navarre Avenue where employees at the drive-thru said he was noticeably intoxicated. They called 9-1-1, but Gagnon left before police arrived. Gagnon started his deadly trek on I-280 at Navarre Avenue, going northbound in the southbound lanes.

Meanwhile Danny Griffin was driving his family home to Maryland after visiting family in Michigan for the holidays. He was on the ramp from southbound I-75 to southbound I-280 when the two vehicles collided.

http://www.wnwo.com/News/news_story.aspx?id=80019
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Christine Shallal, general manager at the Holiday Inn Express at 3154 Navarre Ave, said three rooms were registered to Mr. Gagnon and his family for Sunday night. She said the rooms had already been checked out of this morning.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/NEWS01/71...

Toledo Blade has 911 Audio
http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/mpg/TO357301231.MP3

Detroit News 911 Audio
Toledo Police talk to Oregon about crash
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/MISC03/71231020...

Driver sees car going wrong way
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/MISC03/71231019...

Taco Bell 991
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/MISC03/71231018...
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1/4
Benefit for victims of crash moved as support flows in
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080104/NEWS05/801040403

Family of man charged in fatal Ohio crash apologizes
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_county/bal-ohiocrash010...

Cops raid Ohio bar that served driver in fatal crash
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/8-0&fp=477fecb65ba0ef7a&ei=8-...

$1.25-million bond set in crash deaths
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/3-0&fp=477fa3da4f18c91f&ei=X-...
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1/5
Oregon bar cited over growth hormone
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/2-0&fp=477fecb65ba0ef7a&ei=8-...

Sister: Driver in wrong-way crash 'not a monster'
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080105/NEWS05/80105036...
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1/9
Hundreds mourn Parkville family killed in crash
http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/2-0&fp=478521b32ffd6da3&ei=FI...
Lives snuffed out in road crash: Parkville mother was fan of Ravens, GOP; Carney school mourns
http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpID=574&NewsID=867168&Catego...
Adrian man indicted on multiple felony charges in deaths of five people in Toledo
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080109/UPDATE/801090...
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Blog outrage:
http://historymike.blogspot.com/2007/12/sorry-bro-drunk-kills-five-injur...
ToledoTalk
http://www.toledotalk.com/cgi-bin/tt.pl/article/9720/Wrong-way_drunk_dri...
http://mydeathspace.com/smf/index.php?topic=11827.0

See related links below for links to news stories.
[Original OhioKat comment]
Twenty six minutes before a horrible car wreck that killed five people including a six month old baby on 280 a driver reported an SUV driving the wrong way on the highway. She called 911 to report it.
TWENTY SIX MINUTES!!
Normally I'm a police supporter but oh my god! Five people are dead because the police didn't take action on this immediately. A mother and four children are dead, several others are in the hospital in serious or critical condition.
Were there even cops out there looking for him? Where was the OHP? Maybe they couldn't have stopped him but did they even try? It just seems to be like 26 minutes might have been enough time.
I'm just heartbroken for this family who was obviously off to visit for the holiday as the van they were in was reported to be loaded with gifts.

(admin edit changed title and added content)
Updates:
Warrants have been issued in Toledo Municipal Court charging Mr. Gagnon with five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

The warrants will be served after he is released from the hospital, which authorities believe will be later this morning.

According to court records, Mr. Gagnon's blood-alcohol level was 0.254 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/NEWS01/71...

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No votes yet

My heart goes out to the family of the victims. Especially to the father and the surviving children. This is a terrible tragedy that could have and should have been prevented! My prayers go out to all of their family.

Please don't drink and drive!!!

This is another example of someone who couldn't handle their freedom. This dude was drunk of his ass with over a 2.0 alcohol level. Of course, all the smokers, drinkers and other mouthpieces for "freedom" will defend the irresponsible driver who killed this innocent family.

This is why you lose your freedom smokers and drinkers....you abuse your freedoms and put others in danger.

Have you been toking, Kooz? What does this have to do with smoking? "Mouthpieces for freedom"? Man, you must be high.

Sickening, no doubt whoever was driving the wrong way was probably drunk. I say hang em.

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

A tragedy indeed. Breaks my heart to see the photo of that infant seat.

But a question - where did you get the information that someone reported a driver the wrong way on the highway 26 minutes prior to the accident?

I haven't seen that written anywhere. Every report I spotted indicated that the driver was at the Taco Bell in Oregon shortly before the accident. Can't imagine that it took 26 minutes of driving on the highway to get from Oregon to the I-280/I-75 split?

(Though I did see that someone called from Taco Bell to report an intoxicated driver at the restaurant - perhaps that's the phone call 26 minutes prior that you were thinking of?)

Edit to add: BTW - just curious when asking that question. wasn't sure if you had inside info that hadn't been published or something like that. Horrifying accident regardless of whether the call was 26 minutes before or 2 minutes before. Whatever the case may be, no punishment that the law can give will ever be enough to make up for what that driver did. :(

Edit to add again: NBC 24 has the most detailed account of what happened that I've seen so far. Such a shame that so many people saw this man, but none were able to stop him in time. I still can't get those pictures of the accident scene out of my head. http://www.wnwo.com/News/news_story.aspx?id=80019

I saw in another story a bystander quoted saying that the drunk driver was walking around at the scene complaining of jaw pain. Jaw pain? Ooh...poor baby. Nevermind the fact that he should have been the one dead on the pavement instead of those poor children (and their mom).

On channel 13 this morning before I left for work they were interviewing a woman who said that she was nearly hit by the same car/truck as it was going the wrong way on 280. She said she called 911 and reported it. Channel 13 is the one that added the 26 minutes as a the time.
I heard about the Taco Bell reporting at work today from a co-worker.

should get life behind bars for being so reckless and taking so many lives all because he wanted to get wasted. Michael Gagnon, hope it was good for you you jerk. Your fun night killed killed at least 5 people and you are still alive. You are probably one of the biggest idiots on the earth. It was your choice and here is hoping that you pay for your choice behind bars the rest of your pathetic life.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071231/NEWS01/71...

from WDIV Police said Gagnon had been drinking in a bar in Oregon, left the bar, and then bought food at a Taco Bell

It will be interesting to see if any charges are placed against the bar and it's owners for not preventing Gagnon from leaving in such an inebriated condition. This is sure to refire the debate.

IMHO...By his actions Gagnon was a terrorist behind the wheel of a WMD. He should be treated as such and sent to Gitmo.

My condolences to the survivng family and victims of this terrible tragedy.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

I worked in bars all through college. While its certainly possible that a person slightly over the legal limit could leave your establishment and not appear visibly intoxicated, its hard to believe that a person with a 0.254 BAC would be able to pull it off. (And given that the Taco Bell employees were concerned enough about his condition to call the police, it makes it even more difficult to believe that the bar employees didn't notice.)

Ultimately, the responsibility falls with Mr. Gagnon. But it is unfortunate that someone didn't stop him before this tragedy occurred.

And it should remind us all to look out for our friends too. Although they may not have legal liability, no doubt Mr. Gagnon was out with at least a friend or two at the bar. I'm sure that they're wishing today that they had done something to stop him from driving too.

I had a friend killed in a drunk driving accident. (He was the drunk one.) I wasn't out with him that night, but I know that the people who were wish that they could have stopped him. He was one of those people who would have been difficult to stop though - had a habit of slipping out the side door when no one was looking. The only "good" thing about his accident was that no one else was injured - he was alone in the car and went off the road, no other cars/innocent people were involved. Unfortunately, most drunk driving accidents don't seem to work out that way - seems like there are always innocent victims.

sorry Pete, but I don't smoke. My point is:

People should have the freedom to smoke...but instead of thinking of others they impose all their cancer causing smoke onto others....hence, they lose their freedom because they were selfish.

We shouldn't have to have intersection red light cameras. But, people are selfish and don't think of others.. and run red lights because THEY are in a hurry. Hence, the red light cams are put up.

In this case, drinking should be a freedom we enjoy. But again, idiots like this guy didn't think of others. Hence...the government will be coming after drinkers next.

The whole point is so many people on this blog cry and whine about their rights and freedoms and how they should be able to do whatever they want. Never realizing that there is a responsibility and courtesy that comes with freedom...and if you don't use your freedom wisely...you will lose it...and in this horrific case...people died because of someone else's narcissistic view of their "rights" and "freedoms". Nobody has a right to put others in danger.

I would say we should all pray for the family...but, I don't want to have Brian in Florida telling me I'm cramming my religion down his throat again.

I call a zealot a zealot.

I just don't recall anyone creating mayhem after smoking a pack of cigarettes compared to downing a 6 pack of beer.

Unfortunately, this isn't the forum to debate those issues.

My heart as well goes out to this family, and I feel Gagnon should be forced to look at the pictures of his victims every day until they release the serum into his veins.

You make good points Kooz, I think its just confusing to add the smoking topic into a discussion about this guy murdering this family because he was idiotic enough to get behind the wheel.

I won't be surprised at all if the surviving family don't go after the bar that served him and let him stroll out the door.
Yes while this guy is ultimately responsible for his own stupidty the bar holds some of it too. IMHO.
The man deserves to be put on death row because he murdered them as surely as if he'd have shot them with a gun.

let's not turn this into another smoking/non-smoking forum. This situation is tragic enough to trivialize it in that manner.

If anyone's going out tonight and drinking, after two drinks, turn your keys over to somebody who's totally sober, or at least a person who's had less to drink than you have. Then make it your New Year's resolution to do that every time, and make it one you'll stick to.

Please...let's not turn this into another smoking/non-smoking forum. This situation is tragic enough to trivialize it in that manner.

Seriously.

Looks like he had a designated driver (pregnant sister) and a local hotel reserved with his brother & buddies to celebrate the holidays. Who knows why he snuck out. I'm guessing he was hungry, then got spooked by the Taco Bell employee that the cops were coming to get him. Either way, horrible outcome.

I just got back from dropping my son off at a party at his friends' parents house, and there seems to be police everywhere. In a three-mile or so stretch of Holland-Sylvania Ave. I saw one state trooper and two Sylvania Township patrol cars, all at different areas, watching traffic.

Think maybe last night's episode is on the minds of local law enforcement this New Year's Eve?

It will be for a long time to come, Mr.McCaskey.

Wow that just kills me. What a gorgeous family and the baby was only 8 weeks old not six months.
Then there is the picture of the killer. He doesn't look like an murderer does he?
He should be made to carry a picture of the family he destroyed with him for the rest of his life.

My prayers go out for the families left behind.

http://www.myspace.com/bhjlv
Bethany's family set up a page in honor of Bethany and the kids. I am so crushed for them; I was completely caught off guard when I checked newslinks this morning from work; I will never get the image of that baby carseat out of my head. Little Vadi had the sweetest cheeks...

They looked like such a happy family.

I hope everyone is safe this evening. I'm staying home with our five kids, we're about to play a mean game of yhatzee. Honestly, that means more to me than any drunkfest (as in my younger years).

In addition to praying for the Griffin family, I am going to try to pray for Michael. Believe me that will be hard.

his tagline up top of his page says "never take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyways" with a great big drink glass...

that makes me sick.

We can't really judge the brother for what Michael did. It's entirely on him and it would be wrong to place the blame anywhere else.
Hopefully Sam will learn from his brother's actions.
I'm curious though, has the brother posted anything about the accident on his my space? Do you have a link?

or at least not as of last night.

his link is at the top of this thread posted by admin.

I'm not judging his brother, I just think it's incredibly distasteful and insensitive given what has happened. But his space does show how he & his friends spend a whole lot of their free time. Take a look at his pictures...

Lots of young adults spend more than their fair share of time tipping a few.

Only a select few, I guess in this case just one, get so plastered they drive the wrong way on an interstate.

IMO, let's keep the focus on the person who commited the crime.

As an aside, special kudos to the young man at the Taco Bell who called 911 right away and tried to stop this before it got worse.

A selfish action resulting in incredible loss. Sadly, this is common place here and around the world. My heart aches for the families and my prayers go out to them for their loss. It's situations like that that make us all very emotional, very raw and leaves us wondering in our humanity, how God could allow such a tragedy? I really just don't have those answers.

This much I do know, alcohol and drugs have been responsible for more pain that all the intententional murders in the world. The pandemic disastor that is addiction has ruined more lives than any other single human afliction. Be it a single, one time event where someone got out of control or a lifetime of addiction, the results are so often the same.

Take this tragedy, you have the victims, both dead and injured. You have the man responsible and his family, the bar(s), family and friends, and all the people that came into contact with the driver just before this event. Then you have the families and friends on both sides that were not there....the web of destruction is emense.

Let this be a warning to all, 1 single mistake can ruin untold lives forever. DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, DON'T GET HIGH AND DRIVE, DON'T LET ANYONE THAT IS DRIVE!!!!!!

My post on "Life's Traps"

http://quigleymanor.blogspot.com/2007/12/life-trapsdamaged-beyond-repair...

on the radio yesterday that the man who killed several people like this on Route 2 last year received only two years in jail.
This a chance for a judge to bring a long jail sentence here. It is a small consolation for sure, but could serve as a deterrent to other fools who drink and drive like this.

Sure, we shouldn't judge the killer's brother just because he's his brother, however his comment in the Blade article gives us reason to judge him "now I got to deal with my brother being in jail for a long time." or something along those lines. Wow, how sad for you....

At first glance, I thought that comment was a little insensitive also. But then I allowed for the fact that Mr. Gagnon's family is most likely in shock themselves and still trying to process everything that happened.

The accident was a tragedy. Michael Gagnon should be punished to the furthest extend that the law provides (and I wish it provided more). I also hope/suspect that what happened will torment him the rest of his life.

That said, its still a loss for his family too. Don't get me wrong - I feel far, far worse for the innocent victims of the accident and their families. But the Gagnon family is going to have a lot of stuff to deal emotionally too. (And at least the brother and sister took the steps of having a hotel room and a sober driver - the pregnant sister. Unfortunately, Michael Gagnon chose to ignore all of the safety precautions his friends/family arranged in advance.)

(As I said, my sympathies are far more with the innocent victims and their families. No doubt about that.)

It's not the Gagnon's familiy's fault that Michael Gagnon made the choices he did. His siblings took measures and he ignored them, made a choice and took off from them. The fact is, when you are that drunk, there's no stopping you. While we can all speculate that more could have been done to stop him, the reality is you ultimately cannot stop someone that is out of control. It seems best efforts were employed to stop the guy by the family, the Taco Bell person the people that he didn't hit. Since there is a Ohio Hwy. Patrol Post right on 280, Lake cops in close proximity and so on, shy of their inability, everyone did what they could.

The blame rests souly on Michael, not anyone else. This is what I talk about on my blog, the damage is far reaching, even unto the Gognon's family. Everyone deals with the consequences of this.

Yes it is Michael's fault.

Was it worth it? Was it worth going to the Rodeo bar to get their $5.99 pitchers? You will have plenty of time to contemplate this.

In investigating last night I saw that Michael's sister had a child the same age as the one killed. There is irony that he ends up taking the life of a child the same age. Let's hope that there is some contemplation on what he did and that he understands. Obviously he may not be as innocent as what the photos suggest. He battled the police even after the accident, he snuck out and took the truck (probably using his own key set), why would you want to get wasted on a Sunday night?.

Regardless, this tragedy was 100% preventable and hopefully they will look back and say that the decision to get wasted on a Sunday night was not worth it. It is just senseless and since the deaths were caused over a selfish motive of "I only want to get wasted," I do think life in prison is justifiable.

Here's an interesting piece of information:

The owners of the Rodeo Bar are relatives of the Michael Gagnon. (I don't know the exact family relationship, but they are related.)

can I ask, Sarah, how you know this?

No that is a fact. Michael Gagnon and one of the co-owners of the Rodeo Bar and Grill are cousins. I have personally known Michael and his brother Sam for about 10 years now and I had just visited them a week before the accident. I my self am in shock because I cant believe that he would ever do something so stupid. I just keep thinking to me self "what the hell" and I cant think of any answers. I have complete sympathy for the victims family and I do believe that Michael needs to face the stiffest punishment possible. It is a horrible horrible series of events

She heard someone say it. That's all.
That's why hearsay is notoriously unreliable.

neither you, nor I, know that. Let's just wait until Sarah answers the question. Your reply here is just speculation, which is basically on par with hearsay.

I hope you don't mind if I answer. Here is a link with video's and if you look at reporter questions during press conference the policeman talks about it.
http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=7559419
Here is a link to a story at myfoxtoledo.com about it.
http://www.myfoxtoledo.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=5365835&ver...
I lived in the town Sam calls his hometown on his myspace page many years ago. I don't remember the name by the boy's ages I wonder if I may have known their mother, she could be about my age.

I have a close friend who is a news producer at one of the local TV stations. Though that information hasn't been published in any of the news stories yet, as far as I know. I'm sure it will eventually come out in the media. (Its no coincidence that the evening out at the Rodeo Bar was referred to in the media as "a family event." )

However, if you want some sort of proof based on what's out there already, the best connection I can show you right now with info already available on the web is this:

Glenn Murdzia (see his connection with the Rodeo Bar in this Chamber of Commerce newsletter here: http://www.embchamber.org/PDFfiles/AprilNewsletter.pdf ) also has a MySpace page: http://www.myspace.org/glennmurdzia. If you look at he and Sam Gagnon's MySpace comments, you'll see that they refer to each other as cousin in older comments.

(Obviously that's not "official documentation," but like I said...until it eventually comes out in the news media, that's the best connection I can show w/info already available on the web right now for those people who need to see "proof".)

Someone else who has more time and inclination to spend on Google might be able to find a better link. lol. Or, of course, wait until one of the local media outlets eventually mentions it in a story.

for your clarification.

KMA

Why don't you just Kiss my Ass, McCaskey.

no thanks.

Happy New Year to you as well.

No that is a fact. Michael Gagnon and one of the co-owners of the Rodeo Bar and Grill are cousins. I have personally known Michael and his brother Sam for about 10 years now and I had just visited them a week before the accident. I my self am in shock because I cant believe that he would ever do something so stupid. I just keep thinking to me self "what the hell" and I cant think of any answers. I have complete sympathy for the victims family and I do believe that Michael needs to face the stiffest punishment possible. It is a horrible horrible series of events

You certainly don't have to answer this, but I'm curious:

In your opinion, does Michael have a long-term drinking problem? In other words, does he get 'hammered' every time he drinks, or does it come as a surprise to you he was as intoxicated as he was the night of the accident?

Also, i'm curious if he had traffic citations for speeding, reckless driving, etc., before this tragedy?

Not to diminish how horrific this accident was, but what does his sister being pregnant have to do with anything? I fail to see why it was even mentioned or printed - it's irrelevant, not critical to what happened whether she was pregnant or virginal. Also, not fair to try to blame the bar. Not bringing the smoking ban into this, but since the ban, a lot of people go to their cars to smoke - bar & bowling alley owners were complaining some time ago, that there's no way of knowing if they're also drinking from their own bottle in the car while they're at it. And from those articles, it appears that this guy was partying in a rented room, prior to leaving abruptly on his own. There's no way a bar can know for certain how drunk somebody is when that person is one who holds their booze well. My ex brother in law could drink himself silly, but he never appeared drunk, no slurred words, staggers. Short of a breathalizer, you'd be hard pressed to tell he was drunk. Bars have the right to cut off patrons, but they have to be visably drunk for them to do it (or just nasty). It's unfair to the bar owner to get sued if somebody goes out & kills people with his car in situations like that. People bar hop, so how is the bar keep able to know how much has been consumed before he got there?

Kooz, you're an ass. Nobody got cancer from shs. Ever. If they taxed the booze & drinks as heavily as they do tobacco, perhaps people wouldn't be able to afford to drink as much as they do. At least, that was the logic behind the tobacco taxes - to make people cut back or quit (and make zillions more dollars for the pharmacutical companies). They need to toughen the drunk driving laws - although, there's still a lot of people who still drive with suspended licenses. Thinking out loud - wonder how many people are in jail for being busted for pot, as opposed to drunk driving?

Pray all you want, but it won't bring that family back. It sure didn't stop them from being killed. And while I have zero sympathy for this idiot, his family will go through their own hell. I realize nobody much cares, but they will. And they aren't guilty (unless it was a 'family thing' to get wasted,)

I know those that cherish freedom above all else will not like what I propose: a state ordinance that every establishment that serves alcohol require patrons to breath into a breahalyzer, and not serve them if they register above the legal limit. It might stop a lot of over-consumption, I would suppose (anyone know how many drunks prefer their own company to being the "life of the party"). Perhaps I am wrong but it seems most drunks prefer to do their drinking in bars rather than at home. If they stayed at home to get soused we might not be scraping families off the road. Of course, the right of businesses to do their thing is much more important than public safety, so such an ordinance will never pass. That's why bars have parking.

Old South End Broadway

No every time Michael drank when I was around he didnt drink to get hammered. I mean yeah I have saw him hammered but what a lot of people dont realize (even though it obvisouly doesnt matter anymore nor does it make it right in anyway) but Michael lived in a house with 5 other college students. I would say that Michael drank the least out of anyone who lived in the house. In fact the last time that I visited they were having a party and I actually drove Michael in the truck that was involved in the accident up to the party store to get some more beer because he said he was too drunk to drive. I myself dont drink so I was the DD that night. Thats just what I dont understand if he asked me to drive him to the store a week before the accident why in the hell didnt he have someone drive him to Taco Bell. I just keep running that thought through my head trying to figure out why he did leave.

And to starling02
I do think that in this case Rodeo Bar and Grill should be investigated because if the Holiday Inn that Michael usually stays at, then its right next to the Rodeo Bar and Grill. I had been to the bar with Michael and then gotten a room at that Holiday Inn earlier this summer so im guessing thats where he was staying the night of the accident.
And as far as the bar being investigated, I think so because Michael's cousin is the owner or co-owner of the Rodeo Bar and Grill. That being said I dont think Michael ever had a "cut-off" limit at this bar. They probably just kept feeing him shots.

I wondered about whether or not he would have been cut off, since his cousin owned the bar.

I worked at bars all through college...a decade ago, but I don't think bars have changed that much since then. ;) I know how it goes - someone's friend/family member patronizes the bar and has a different cut off level than a regular customer. (Of course, the reason they *have* a different cut off level is specifically because you already know that they have a safe way home...their friend/family member who is working that night.) That's why I thought it was interesting that the bar owner was a family member - seems like that might expose him to more liability, because the bar knew him personally and thus should have been even more aware of what he was doing.

P.S. Starling - I suspect that it has been pointed out that his sister was pregnant to reinforce the fact that he had a sober person available to drive him somewhere if needed. (Lord knows I spent most of my first pregnancy being the DD. lol. Not that I minded - I had pregnancy insomnia, so I'd rather have been out visiting w/my husband and our friends vs. sitting up wide awake watching TV at home.)

Thanks for the insight

They probably just kept feeding him shots.

Great. Not drinks, not beers, but shots.

If employees at the Taco Bell noticed he was obviously wasted, he had to be in the same condition when he left the bar. Damn right that bar's culpable. Unless...they thought he was just walking back to the hotel room. That's gonna be their story, anyway, IMO.

.

ATVRACER33, I know that you are trying to help by giving us insight into the person that Michael is, or was as his life is forever changed, but please watch what you say. This is a public forum and, if you are his friend, you do not want to say anything that may be used against him in court.

That being said, I am not defending his actions. There is no doubt about his guilt and I do hope that he is prosecuted fully and that he does serve a long jail sentance. However, I do believe in rehabilitation and hope that when he gets out of jail, Michael uses this experience to educate others on the dangers of drunk driving.

Yeah I know that im not stupid. Doesnt take a whole lot to realize that any one can read anything posted on the internet weather its a private room or a public one.
Yeah I am his friend and I dont believe anything that I have said would hurt him in court. Like I said in my post I think that the bar should also be held responsible. In no way is it not Michaels fault and he needs to face the consiquences.
I just trying to give some insight because I can almost bet
that Im the only one who has known him on this forum and I just dont want people to think that he is just a cold blooded killer. Which he is not! The Michael I know is a good guy but non the less he is going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life.

I just hope that people who have saw the whole ordeal really think about what has happened and make the right decision to never drink and drive.

IS A $5 MEAL AT A FAST FOOD JOINT REALLY WORTH IT WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK? HELL NO!!! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DRINK AND DRIVE PEOPLE!!!
COME HAVE A LITTLE MORE RESPECT FOR YOURSELF AND THE LIVES OF OTHER PEOPLE

I asked about previous driving citations concerning Gagnon because it's my opinion that 'bad drivers' in normal conditions, ones likely to speed, run a stop sign now and then, etc., become incredibly horrendous and dangerous drivers when under the influence. Basically, it takes their already occasionally reckless driving and multiplies it ten-fold, which is not true with so-called 'safe, responsible' drivers who have good records.

Gagnon had his driver's license suspended multiple times for not providing proof of insurance or registration.

He also had two speeding tickets since 2002 but had no points on his driving record before Sunday's crash, according to the Michigan secretary of state's office.

I'm betting that most of us, have at some time or another, have gotten behind the wheel of a vehicle while 'legally' intoxicated. Legally, as in, say, we had three drinks when two might have put us at the limit where we should have stopped. It doesn't mean we were incoherently drunk. It means we would have failed the breathalizer or blood test.

In my sometimes-wayward youth, which is to say before I turned 30 and married and had kids, I occasionally drank my share and did recreational drugs. I very, very seldom was as intoxicated as Gagnon evidently was. But there were a couple times when I probably was, and got behind the wheel of a car.

I think there are people, and I'm one of them, who, no matter how much they've had to drink, are able to comprehend how wasted they are, and a switch gets turned on in their head. It's a switch that starts a process where they realize their state of mind and know they have to bear down and do whatever it takes to get home safely. Observe the speed limit, don't swerve, etc.

It's not an excuse to drive drunk because there are no excuses or reasons to do it. You're breaking the law just getting behind the wheel, no matter what may or may not happen after that point.

But, in my opinion, for relatively 'safe' drivers in normal circumstances, that 'warning switch' gets turned on in your head when you're not 'safe.' For problem drivers even in normal times, that switch is non-existent when drunk. They simply drive alot worse, and dangerously so.

Which is why I asked about Gagnon's driving record.

Just my personal theory.

McCaskey, prior to your latest comment re 'switches', I just THOUGHT you were looney.
You have just confirmed those thoughts. I now KNOW you are looney tunes,

anyone really cares on this site what you think.

now, now, now. No need to get all huffy, mr. McCaskey.

Apparently the switches seem to go past the fail-safe mode at fast food joints.

Gagnon had his driver's license suspended multiple times for not providing proof of insurance or registration.

Which means he was stopped multiple times for some kind of moving violation(s) or suspicious behavior.

to the Taco Bell.

I am not defending this guy at all - but I do think we all need to recognise, that every one of us probably knows somebody - a relative, college student, friend, friend of a child's - who was young & dumb & drank too much & drove. Most of the time, they probably got to where they were going, without incident or accident (heaven knows how). My only point, is that while it's easy to dismiss this guy as a complete loser - it's also quite possible that it wasn't the norm for him to drink & drive, and perhaps was the one, huge stupid, youthful thing he did that caused a horrific tragedy. I have no way of knowing how he feels when he thinks back on it now - but I'd guess that he will carry this with him the rest of his life if it doesn't destroy him. He was 22 yrs old - no excuse at all - but at least recognise that we've all done some very stupid, irresponsibe things at 22 yrs old. I realize none of us have probably been the cause of killing an entire family - but maybe, just maybe, the next person who does, will be your nephew, or child - the kid who never drinks & drives - or even, the kid who never even drinks. Not defending his act at all - just trying to keep it in perspective about judgements. My husband's the most ethical, moral person I know - but when he was about 20 yrs old, he crashed his car into a tree, drunk driving (he's an easy drunk, only takes a couple of beers, so he rarely ever drinks.) That tree could just as easily have been a car full of people. Kids think they're immortal. And like pregnancy, they never think it will happen to them. It was a devastating thing to have happened. Hopefully, more people will think twice about not driving while drunk.

starling - I would tend to agree with you here. He made a poor decision (understatement of the year), and unfortunately this tragedy occurred because of it. Though I absolutely think that he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, its hard to say just from this incident what kind of person he really was. Generally, I don't think that any one person is either "all bad" or "all good." Most of us are just regular people who do good things in some ways, bad things in others.

Unfortunately, his poor decision killed innocent people. You can't take something like that back. So, you have to accept your punishment, live with the guilt, and know that nothing you could ever do will make up for what happened. But still, I agree with you that, prior to this tragedy, he might very well have been a guy who had some redeeming qualities...that's certainly not how he'll be remembered in the public eye, of course. But perhaps it should serve as a lesson - even an otherwise decent human being can turn the world upside down as the result of one awful choice. :(

jhostleter - I'm not going to debate this here - wrong thread, and it's been discussed ad nauseum on earlier posts both here & on toledotalk. I suggest you take the time & go read the archives on the smoking ban/shs studies. There's an excellent post with all the results of ALL the 70 plus studies on shs ever done - and not one has shown even the slightest risk of disease or death to anybody except the smoker. These studies were presented by a member in high standing at the New England Journal of Medicine. There is only one shs study that was done that the surgeon general or cancer society hadnt been able to tamper with - it was done in Germany, and it proved that shs does not present any kind of risk. As for it being a 'known carcinagen' - so is the sun. You are exposed to about 50,000 (and that's a low side) of known carcinagens daily, that are far worse than shs. If your wife uses any household cleansers, they are far worse. (but I bet you won't scrub the tub for her). Those studies had to reach at least the number 3 to be considered even a minor risk. Not one reached number 3. I don't believe anything the ACS says or prints anymore - they used cure donation money to pass a ban, are incredibly wealthy (paying it's top executives millions of dollars a year in bonus's), and are in bed with Big Pharma, which stands to make zillions of dollars in smoking cessation drugs. At any rate - this thread is not the place for this debate. Do your homework first & READ the earlier threads before you leap to conclusions that were spooned to you by the ACS. Fact - nobody has ever died or gotten a disease from shs. If in doubt - prove it, name a name & back it up with medical proof.

Just when I was beginning to have high hopes for you, you come out with some crap like that.

What did Miggs say to you? Multiple Miggs. He hissed at you.

I was talking to a friend of mine today on the phone. He still goes out often (still in party mode, I'm settled down with the kiddos- different places in life)... his response to this accident? "Yeah I drink and drive sometimes, but I don't get *that* drunk".

?????????????WTF!!

I let him have it. What an ignorant position to take on drinking & driving. That got me thinking about how many other weekend recreational drinkers will take the same stance.

I am an easy drunk (cheap date). Two drinks puts me over the legal limit because of my size, and it just hits me fast & hard. I don't drink much or often, one drink is usually it for me. My point is that most people when they go out, have at least 2 -3 drinks minimum, and do drive home. Of my three grown kids, my two sons never drank, & my daughter used to tie one on when she was younger. Now, she only goes out maybe once or twice a month with her friends - but they have always taken a cab, both ways. Or, they'll leave their car & take a cab home. I've driven her friends to pick up their cars the next day more times than I can count. Of course this limits how far from home they can go to party at bars, cabs get expensive - but they never drink & drive, they've seen too many of their friends get dui's. Anybody who was so drunk they went the wrong way on an xway, should not have been behind the wheel, and they alone, are responsible for the hell they create & should pay the consequences for their stupidity. But realistically - if everybody here is honest, we/you all know somebody near & dear who's driven drunk. Or, a friend of somebody near & dear. I don't know if young adults are more prone to drunk driving than older adults - there's been more than a few prominent people in town who've done the same - they just didn't cause the tragedy this guy did. Just lucky they were I guess.

This story was on Nancy Grace last night. Here is a transcript for anyone interested: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0801/02/ng.01.html

Ignore him. He's noise, no more nor less.

In fact El Chilito reminds me of Muck Rake, although I don't know why he'd bother setting up a false account over here.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Please do consider donating to the family through the various funds set up at:

http://myspace.com/bhjlv
http://www.nemsys.com/fund

Donations of $5, $10, or $15 make a difference.

I was a little troubled by these two paragraphs in today's Blade article about the investigation:

"Oregon police Officer Jeff Brown had information about where Mr. Gagnon was drinking that night because he spoke with Mr. Murdzia after hearing about the accident.

According to the search warrant, Officer Brown “jokingly” sent a text message to Mr. Murdzia telling him to be careful about bar patrons driving drunk. Mr. Murdzia replied to the officer that his cousin was missing."

Why in the world would a police officer joke about drunk drivers? How unprofessional. And I wonder if he sent the text on company time. For all we know, while he was sitting in his police cruiser texting the message, Mr. Gagnon could have driven by him unnoticed.

And, isn't this Officer Brown the mayor of Oregon's son?

or Sam- the brother's myspace, there was a picture of an officer with his arms around (I think it was Sam) and another friend- I am not sure if it was an Oregon officer- the uniform was brown. This picture was in a string of pictures from one of the parties.

I remember thinking "huh?" when I saw that picture.

Why is a text message mentioned in a search warrant? Perhaps the officer volunteered that information knowing it would come out in phone records later? Yes, unprofessional is a good word.

A former city employee has 15 drinking violations...and only gets probation and community service. A shame in light of the recent tragedy where this family had five of their members killed.

http://www.wtol.com/global/story.asp?s=7577352

...he got more than probation and community service - according to the court records - but it's all stayed pending his appeal...

westsider - Officer Jeff Brown is Mayor Marge Brown's son (soon to be promoted to Sargent now that she got Chief Gulch out of the way - the new 'temporary' chief is her son's friend - who is paving the way for Officer Brown to squeak into Chief position when the temp chief retires) and is also close friends of the owners of the Rodeo Bar (who also own the motel next door to it). The kid who caused this accident, is a cousin of the owner of the Rodeo Bar. I found it interesting that the Blade made mention of the text message by Brown, and referred to him as Officer Jeff Brown (rather than just Officer Brown, as is more typical). From what I"ve heard about Officer Brown, it wouldn't surprise me if he had been at the Rodeo Bar prior to the accident . Does anybody know which officer took the call from Taco Bell?

I noticed that this kid, and his brother's myspace pages are gone - wont load for me. Incriminating photos maybe?

"From what I"ve heard about Officer Brown, it wouldn't surprise me if he had been at the Rodeo Bar prior to the accident"

Star ???
Has Clarice informed you that you may address her in such a familiar way, to be followed by your perpetually ignorant commentary?

P.S. Better for you to stay off Oregon roads, Muckasski . They have your number, I understand.

Now, GET BACK IN YOUR HOLE.

McCaskey's switch is turned on.

westsider asked if Officer Brown was Mayor Brown's son is all - & I confirmed he is. Just thinking out loud - given that Officer Brown tends to park outside the Rodeo Bar, & is friends with the owner of the bar (as was shown in the photo on that kid's brother's myspace page which is now gone). Also, just pondering the possible connection about the fact that many people noticed that Officer Brown had 'bulked up' over the last year or two, and that the police confiscated boxes of growth hormones & syringes from the Rodeo Bar when they searched it, along with $16,000. in cash. I'm not making any accusations - or presumptions - just thinkin out loud........................................... then again, perhaps Officer Brown just started to work out a LOT.

I'm sure that Mayor Marge Brown isn't happy with this extra attention on her son either - given that much of her son's public records of misbehaviour on duty have been made very public here & on the margebrown.com site. Especially since the Rodeo Bar owners may not feel such close allegiance to Officer Brown if their liquour license is at risk, and if the Rodeo Bar may get sued over the accident for serving an overly drunk customer (their cousin) who killed a family in the accident.

he pleaded not guilty... what a fucking joke

???

you dug back to a two year old post to comment on that?

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