Cathie Plaisted still feels the hardware and pain in both her legs from an automobile accident more than six years ago that had her wheelchair-bound and bedridden for months.
Cathie was 47 at the time and in the passenger seat of a vehicle driven by her husband, William. Another vehicle veered into their lane on Route 5 near Cedar Street and struck their van. That was on April 22, 2002.
The Daily News reported the following day that Cathie, William and children in the vehicle suffered only minor injuries. Although Cathie was originally transported to UMMC, she was immediately airlifted from there to Strong Memorial Hospital.
"This was a life changing ordeal," Plaisted said today in an email to The Batavian (she's given us permission to write about the email). Plaisted was responding to a report this morning about Ryan Shumway being sent to state prison on a conviction of menacing a police officer.
Shumway was 22 and reportedly the driver of the vehicle that struck the Plaisted's van (at this time, we have no information on any conviction related to that incident). He was charged, according to the Daily News, with aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation, no seat belt, moving from a lane unsafely and failure to keep right.
The Stafford resident reportedly told deputies at the time that he didn't know what happened. Shumway reportedly said he didn't know why he drove into the oncoming lane of traffic.
This morning, Shumway was given a one-and-a-half to three year prison term on this latest conviction. He has a prior felony conviction for grand larceny. Plaisted wrote to object to the lastest felony as just a "second strike."
"How many chances does this guy get?" she asked.
Under New York State law, only certain felonies count as "strikes" (not a term usually used in the New York court system, I don't believe -- it's a term I lifted from California's penal system). In New York, like California and several other states, if a person receives three serious enough felony convictions, he will spend the rest of his life in jail. It would appear that none of the charges from the April 22 accident led to a "strike" conviction.
As for Cathie, this is how she describes her own ordeal: "(I) was treated for two broken legs, six broken ribs and a cut spleen. I spent three months totally wheelchair-bound with the hospital bed in the living room. The accident happened on 4-22-2002 and I came home from the hospital May 13th and took my first steps on July 21. By then Mr. Shumway had been out and about with a broken arm for a couple of months."
Today Shumway told Judge Robert Noonan that he wanted to turn his life around.
"Well, sir, I've been in trouble before and everything I've done, I pled guilty," Shumway said. "I'm looking forward to getting this behind me and, hopefully, this will be behind me and I can start a new, good life."
Cathie Plaisted has heard it before.
"I suppose I'm more upset with myself for actually believing someone could change because they were young and showed remorse," Cathie wrote. "I thought it would be a wake-up call to escape something like that crash with no life-altering injuries."