Open letter to James Luttrell, Andy Zay and Kevin Mahan

Open letter to James Luttrell, Andy Zay and Kevin Mahan

By Theresa Sloan

I am very disheartened as I try to think of what to say to men in your position. Men who have been charged with being the voice of the people you represent. It is perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, to expect men such as you to make an effort to see the issues that continually arise in the area you represent and to find ways to make sure they are being addressed.

Do you even know how many drug overdoses have been in your area this past year? Once you find out, put that number beside how many bills have been introduced in Indiana to provide rehabilitation (without incarceration) and see which number is greater. I am not talking about laws designed to catch people using such as the much praised INSPECT bill that was passed. But bills and programs designed to help people seeking recovery from this disease. We are seeing our younger generation die off from a treatable disease. Not to mention the risk of a Hepatitis C outbreak like we have seen in other Indiana counties.

And yes the one that is tearing my family apart……How many hit and runs have occurred in the area you are representing, what were the injuries and harm they caused to the victim? Did the punishment fit the crime? Or did the punishment fit the budget?

As I sit here still in awe of how cold and hurtful the search for justice can be, I can’t help but wonder how many people have felt like me. I can’t possibly be the first person that feels like the ones able to make these changes are too busy to see what is happening in their own back yard or just don’t care. You tell me….do you just not see it?

In 2014 the legislators went to work and changed the statutes surrounding domestic battery to include levels in order for the punishment to be appropriate for the crime. I do not understand why hit and runs have not been considered the same way. In Indiana we have had victims in the hospitals longer than the defendant spent in jail. We have victims, such as my mother, not knowing if they will ever be able to go home from the hospital while the defendant may get home detention.

Why do we treat the victims like they are asking for too much. My mother was not eligible for help from the “Indiana Victims Compensation Fund. Why? Because when the changes were made somehow hit and run is not considered a violent crime. I guess it isn’t violent to hit someone so hard head on that it causes them to be thrown 41 feet smashing them into one part of the wheelchair as the other parts go flying in different directions and leave them there without any attempt to get them help.

Approximately $450,000 later (and that’s no typo) my mother may have to give up all her income except $52.00 a month and be sentenced to life in a nursing facility for the rest of her life while this defendant is out of jail on an OR and is requesting home detention. She gets life in a nursing facility, he gets to go home with a bracelet on his ankle. Sound like justice to you?

Now I know I sound angry and bitter, I am. Put yourself in my shoes and see how you would feel. Would you think some changes may be needed had this been your mother? You represent me…..and thousands of other people in your area. Be our voice. I challenge you to come sit down with people who put you where you are to represent them and hear what is going on in the area YOU are the voice for. We are hurting. And we need your help. My mom may not get what I feel is justice. But if you can make changes so Grant County doesn’t have another victim and their family feeling like justice has passed them by, then my mom has not totally suffered in vain.

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