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Pray for safety: The state did not provide it

December 12. 2013 9:36PM

Three people are dead in a highway collision that police say was caused by a man who tried to commit suicide by driving into oncoming traffic. Incredibly, that man is out on bail, free to attempt the same dramatic exit again if the mood strikes him.

According to police, Robert Dellinger, 53, of 28 Birch Point Lane in Sunapee, left home after an argument with his wife over his depression medication and the bedtime his doctor set for him. On I-89, he picked a spot where the median was not protected by a guardrail and sped across it.

Dellinger’s 2005 Chevy truck clipped the top off of a car driven by Amanda Murphy, all of 24 years old — and eight months pregnant. Murphy, her fiance, Jason Timmons, 29, and the baby were killed. Dellinger suffered only minor injuries.

At the bail hearing, Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell asked for $250,000 bail, a sum she said Dellinger, a former business executive, had already given his attorney for that purpose. Judge Albert Cirone set bail at $200,000. He also accepted Morrel’s proposal that Dellinger receive a psychiatric evaluation and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. Cirone ordered Dellinger not to drive.

What, one has to wonder, was the point of those bail conditions? Cirone and Morrel both knew the $200,000 bail was not going to keep Dellinger in jail. Would it deter him from doing the same thing again for fear of losing the money? If a man is suicidal, what would he care about the money? And what possible protection to the public would come from an ankle bracelet and court order not to drive?

Keeping this man off the streets should have been the top priority of the state, especially during the holiday travel season. The only protection the public has now is whatever God might be enticed by prayers to offer.

Crime, law and justice Public Safety Editorial Sunapee

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