Saturday, March 1, 2003

Drunken driver, MADD member form alliance

The Associated Press

ELYRIA, Ohio - A member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is supporting a man who killed three people while driving drunk and now wants his driver's license back.

Jack Hale, 45, served 10 years in prison for running a stop sign and killing newlyweds Delbert and Patricia Kennedy. Hale's cousin, who was riding with him, also died.

Hale's attorney, Paul Griffin, said Hale rehabilitated himself while serving his sentence and forged an unlikely relationship with MADD.

Hale designed educational anti-drinking posters, appeared in newspaper articles and wrote countless letters to high school students about his story.

"I have to look in the mirror every day," said Hale, a Ford Motor Co. autoworker. "I know what I did."

Marylin Miehls, a longtime victim's advocate for MADD, worked with Hale and came to appreciate his quiet persistence. She supported his release from prison and his chance to regain his license, although she still believes in lengthy sentences for drunken drivers.

The parents of two of Hale's victims also did not object to his being allowed to drive.

Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Lynett McGough is considering Hale's request to get back the license she revoked for good in 1991.

McGough didn't immediately announce a decision Thursday but said she would give her opinion later in writing.

Hale's 70-year-old father, Raymond, drove him to court from their home in Brunswick and he also drives him to work. But Raymond Hale is ill with cancer and would be relieved if his son could take over the task.

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