NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The Yale student who drove a U-Haul into a crowd and killed a woman will not go to jail. 22-year-old Brandon Ross pled guilty to reduced charges this morning in New Haven court.
All Brendan Ross had to do was say "guilty" two times and he walked out of court with no jail time.
In November of 2011, Ross was behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck loaded with beer kegs. He pulled into the parking lot of the Yale Bowl for some tailgating. Police determined he was sober but accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and drove into 3 women, injuring two and killing one.As a resident of New Haven, CT I could not resist commenting on the above story.
We are all born between urine and feces--to steal a term from a prominent black public intellectual who likely stole the phrase from someone else. Homages are real and powerful. They should not be retreated from.
In the case of Brendan Ross, it would appear that some of us are born between feces that do not smell too bad. The urine for said class of folks is also apparently very sweet.
Race privilege is real in America. A person of color who ran over a bunch of people at a tailgate party while driving a truck full of liquor would be in jail.
Class privilege is real. A working class, middle class, or poor person, of any color, who runs over people in a fit of impatience in the same scenario would also be in jail.
In November of 2011, Ross was behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck loaded with beer kegs. He pulled into the parking lot of the Yale Bowl for some tailgating. Police determined he was sober but accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake and drove into 3 women, injuring two and killing one.
In May of 2012, Ross was arrested for negligent homicide. Since then, his lawyer Willie Dow put together a deal to get that dropped down to the level of a couple traffic infractions.
"He's grateful for that. Part of that came about as a result of the compassion and understanding of the family of the young woman who died," said Dow.
30-year-old Nancy Barry of Salem Massachusetts died in that crash. Court records say her family supported the plead deal. Dow says both families agreed putting Brendan behind bars would only ruin another life.
"From the very beginning, Brendan and his family have expressed their compassion to the Barry family. His parents went to the wake for Ms. Barry. She remains in his prayers. He's a very spiritual, religious kid," said Dow.Must be nice to be such a good kid?
You can teach me something here: how does gender play into Brendan Ross's sentence? If he was female would the sentence be greater? If he were a rich person of color would the sentence be different?
I often struggle with how to distill abstract concepts about social inequality down into accessible examples and ideas for students. For example, when I talk about wealth, I frame it as the thing which keeps you off the street when you lose a job, and/or that bundle of opportunities which you can hand down to your kids and/or other heirs.
Income is more temporary and ephemeral: as such, it comes and goes. I may now add the following example wherein a person like Brendan Ross can run over innocent people and kill them, as a demonstration of the power of old money, and its ability to determine life outcomes.
There are two legal systems in America. Regular folks have to suffer under the law; the elites and their children live knowing that they operate under a separate set of rules. What better example is there than how a thief who robs Best Buy of a TV goes to jail for many years, while a bankster that destroys the economy walks free and is reimbursed for his or her "loss?"
U-Haul murder can easily be added to the list of abuses allowed the rich because of their ability to take a "guilty" plea and then pay off the victims. Isn't the United States a great country?