There has been a lot of commentary in the blog-world on Karen Irby’s lawsuit against Stuart Irby, which blames the accident on Stuart.
Matt at Ipse Blogit lays out the chronology of events leading up to Karen’s sentencing hearing, including:
In Karen Irby’s petition (filed March 29), she says that while she was driving the car Stuart Irby began yelling at her and assaulting her. She then says she sped up and crossed into oncoming traffic, and that she had consumed two glasses of wine, and that her BAC was .09. Oddly enough, she doesn’t make a causal nexus between the supposed assault and the bad driving in her plea petition.
Stating this aloud is not to say that anyone who spoke did anything inappropriate– people were properly playing their respective roles, and none of this demonstrates that Karen Irby is lying. Or telling the truth, for that matter. What we have here is two pieces of apparent evidence: That Karen says she was assaulted, and that someone speaking on Stuart’s behalf says he doesn’t remember. We have one factor to weigh: That Karen and Stuart (or Stuart’s mouthpiece) have good tactical and strategic reasons to say those things. Perhaps the judge’s conclusion to accept what Karen said is a factor, although a second-hand and therefore weak one.
After thinking about it for a couple of days, I do not have an opinion about what really happened in that car that night on Old Canton Road. There are simply too many variables for me to form an opinion.
It’s pretty clear that the Irbys were in the middle of a domestic dispute. And crazy things can happen during domestic disputes. An example is the death of NFL player Chris Henry when he fell out of the back of a pick-up driven by his fiancee while the two were fighting.
I believe Stuart’s lawyer when he says that Stuart does not remember the accident. I would not expect someone who was in an accident with that kind of impact to remember the accident. I would expect the person to have a traumatic brain injury and amnesia is common (but not always present) when there is a traumatic brain injury. However, I would also not expect Karen to remember either.
I suspect that Karen Irby believes her account whether its true or not. It’s been my experience as a lawyer and in life that people believe what they want to believe. [NMC seemed to allude to this in his post.] People also rationalize events in their own minds so that that others are to blame for their mistakes or bad outcomes. I believe that we are all wired to do this. I see it in young children and adults alike. Everyone has an excuse for everything. Part of parenting is teaching your kids to not make excuses and accept responsibility for their actions.
People who step up and admit that they made a mistake and take responsibility for it are the exception and not the rule. It takes a lot of maturity and character to do this.
It’s also impossible for me to tell how big of a factor the civil case against the Irbys was or the status of the relationship between the Irbys. These could be no factor, or big factors.
The bottom line for me is that while many things could have happened that night, alcohol was probably the single biggest factor in causing the accident. And that applies whether you believe Karen Irby or not. Judge Green’s sentence of 18 years suggests that Judge Green thought the same thing.