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Monday, February 18, 2013

His Life Had Purpose

Posted by on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Timothy C. McCormick, a 24-year-old EMT and an openly gay man, died this weekend in Indianapolis. The ambulance he was driving was hit by a car. The driver of the other car ran a flashing red light and smashed into McCormick's ambulance with such force that his ambulance flipped over and slid down the street and hit a parked car. Ambulances are pretty heavy and you have to hit one pretty hard to flip it on its side. The driver of the other car was unhurt. More details:

According to a police report, the female driver of the car, who has been identified as 21-year-old Jade Hammer, had the smell of alcohol on her breath when officers talked to her after the accident. She was transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital for a blood draw, which is standard procedure. No one has been taken into custody for the accident at this time.

At a noon press conference on Saturday, officials announced IEMS Private Timothy C. McCormick, 24, had died from injuries sustained in the crash. The second IEMS crew member [remains] in very critical condition at Wishard Memorial Hospital. McCormick, a Greenwood resident, joined the IEMS team in June 2010. He had recently attended IUPUI, was an Eagle Scout, and took part in many health fairs educating people about CPR.

This detail is completely infuriating:

Hammer told police that after getting off work, she and a friend went to a Downtown bar and she ordered two drinks, but only drank one and a half of them. She described them as not being strong drinks. Recently moved to Indianapolis from Florida, she said she was unfamiliar with the city and was following her audio GPS as she drove home. Police said her blood wasn’t drawn for drug and alcohol testing until almost two hours after the accident.

Timothy McCormick helping victims at the scene of the November 10 house explosion in Indianapolis.
  • Timothy McCormick helping victims at the scene of the November 10 house explosion in Indianapolis.

Timothy McCormick also took part in the It Gets Better Project, making and uploading a short but moving video in December of 2011. On Saturday, before the news of his death broke, his video had been viewed 2,000 times. By this afternoon his video has had been viewed more than 20,000 times. I've heard from a few friends of McCormick's and the person they describe—upbeat, positive, loving—shines through in his IGB video. My heart goes out to McCormick's parents, his siblings, his friends, and his colleagues.

The mayor of Indianapolis has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff:

Mayor Greg Ballard has directed flags at all City-County facilities to be flown at half-staff to honor McCormick. Flags will remains at half-staff until sunset of the day of Private McCormick's internment. Mayor Ballard is also asking local businesses and residents to lower their flags at half-staff.

I was going to say something here about Diana Medley, the special ed teacher in Sullivan, Indiana, who became infamous last week when she said that gay people—including her own gay students—serve no purpose in life. McCormick's life had purpose and he died serving the people of Indianapolis. Sullivan is a little more than an hour's drive from Indianapolis and I imagine that McCormick was following the news from Sullivan. I can't imagine, having watched his IGB video, that McCormick felt anything but pity for Diana Medley. So, yeah, I was going to say something here about Diana Medley and tie these two stories together—Timothy McCormick's tragic death in Indianapolis, Diana Medley's hateful life in Sullivan—and then I thought to look up the condition of the other EMT who was injured in Saturday's crash:

A second medic has died from injuries sustained when a car collided with an ambulance in downtown Indianapolis. Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services chief Dr. Charles Miramonti said that 22-year-old paramedic Cody Medley died early Sunday morning at Wishard Hospital from severe injuries.

I don't know if Cody Medley and Diana Medley are related. But it's possible that fate has already tied these two stories together.

 

Comments (42) RSS

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1
Are you kidding me? Were they actually related? My heart goes out to all the people touched by this tragedy, even Diana Medly if this is indeed a family member.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Alison Cummins 2
He was an Eagle Scout — are BSA going to revoke it over the It Gets Better video?
Posted by Alison Cummins http://cleanmyscreen.peghole.com/ on February 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
3
I've heard that alcohol stays in the body for six hours after consumption. Considering that the rate at which alcohol is metabolized by the liver can be pretty constant, it is highly likely that the hospital staff will be able to determine whether Ms. Hammer was legally drunk when she killed Mr. McCormick.

And even if she was stone sober, she still killed Mr. McCormick and she's still going to get punished.

Let's hope that poor Cody Medley is not related to Ms. Medley. If he is, the press will ask her what she thinks of the matter, and there is no reason for more fools in the news.
Posted by DRF on February 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 4
Any time someone orders a drink, they should be required to hand over their car keys, and use a breathalizer before they can get them back.

Or better yet, just put breathalizers in all cars and require they be used for the car to start. Mandatory.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
tainte 5
hmmm, i hope that you aren't hoping that they are related. because that would be...gross.
Posted by tainte on February 18, 2013 at 3:29 PM · Report this
6
I'm not hoping they're related. I don't wish dead relatives—their lives cut tragically short—on anyone.
Posted by Dan Savage on February 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
rob! 7
Fuck.

If most of your free time outside of work is spent drinking, or if you can hardly wait to get to the bar even one day a week, you should consider making some changes in your life, like changing jobs or finding something meaningful to do with your life.

That said, I can't wait for the era of mostly self-driving cars. I'll bet that accident and death rates plummet. Yes, there will probably be some high-profile accidents, and gazillion-dollar lawsuits, as glitches are uncovered in the system—but keep an eye on the annual statistics. Lower is better.

I remember when "automated highway" schemes involved magnets or transponders buried in the road, and sensor arms on vehicles that would follow them. No one ever thought that GPS data, detailed mathematical models of the world, and artificial intelligence could bypass those clunky mechanisms. Again, hurry, tomorrow.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on February 18, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
rob! 8
@Dan: IGB 2.0?
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on February 18, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 9
RIP. Life can be so cruel. My condolences to his loved ones.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM · Report this
10
The story says that Cody Medley was from Scranton, PA. The sadness spreads. Two bright young lives destroyed because one idiot couldn't be bothered to get a taxi. What a fucking waste. And the woman who caused the accident is only 21. How many of us were self aware enough at 21 to realize how polluted we were, and to ask for a cab? Her life is not going to go well either (nor should it). Just more waste.

I also cannot wait for self navigating cars.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 18, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
11
@3, my DUI lawyer friends tell me you're right. Trace amounts of alcohol linger in the body for about 10 hours after consumption, and medical pros can work backward to figure out how drunk you were, when. Here in Washington State, all of us have the right to refuse the breathalyzer in the field and wait for a test at the station, after a call to a lawyer. Lots of folks have their blood alcohol level determined hours after the accident.
Posted by Margaretta on February 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 12
I am so grateful that I live in a city with a good public transit system where I don't need to own a car, I live super easy walking distance from at least a dozen fun bars (and an easy cab ride away from many more if I want variety). Even though I don't always get drunk when I go out, I can't imagine wanting to drive after even one drink (at least, not with the happy hour double-sized heavy pours that are almost universal in my neighborhood).
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on February 18, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
13
@10 Age is NO excuse. I'm 24, and have had, since 16, refused to drive or drive with anyone who has had any alcohol. In high school that meant begging a sibling (or parent) for a ride home. In college it meant drinking within walking distance of home. After college it has meant carrying an extra $20-$30 cash for a cab. Please don't malign my age group with any excuses for this piece of trash woman who killed two upstanding innocent people.
Posted by wxPDX on February 18, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 14
Tragic. Truly. Another case of "only the good die young."

Deepest condolences to family and friends for the loss of this caring young man whose life was just beginning.
Posted by Bauhaus I on February 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this
15
God/Goddess (whoever) Bless the EMT's !!
Posted by marking on February 18, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 16
@11 - Any good DUI lawyer would get an expert witness to testify that the rate that blood-alcohol tapers off varies wildly from person to person, and thus such back-calculations are not reliable.

It's too bad the cops can't just call an EMT to do the blood draw on the spot. I'm sure that a great many would have volunteered in this scenario.
Posted by Free Lunch on February 18, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
17
Another example of why Alcohol should be illegal!
Posted by _db_ on February 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
TheRain 18
Jade Hammer would be a great name for either a stripper or a noir detective.
Posted by TheRain on February 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 19
@3 (et al.) -- she killed two people, not just one.

@18 -- I was thinking a ninja assassin.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on February 18, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Mischa Vainburg 20
Wonderfully positive message from Timothy McCormick and just what I needed to hear. Thanks.
Posted by Mischa Vainburg http://squidbasedink.wordpress.com on February 18, 2013 at 9:59 PM · Report this
21
Why is it that one can intentionally get drunk, then intentionally get behind the wheel, intentionally drive at an unsafe speed, intentionally run a red light, and the predictable result of all these intentional actions is called an "accident"?
Posted by Just Plain Joe on February 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM · Report this
22
Why is it that one can intentionally get drunk, then intentionally get behind the wheel, intentionally drive at an unsafe speed, intentionally run a red light, and the predictable result of all these intentional actions is called an "accident"?
Posted by Just Plain Joe on February 18, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
23
@3:

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but even if she was going out of her way to kill him, she's not going to serve any real time. It just doesn't happen with car collisions, no matter how reckless their driving is.

@Dan: See, to some people, the only purpose you or I could ever possibly serve in life, nevermind society, is to make babies. Where's this bitch from again? Some cow town in Ohio? Is she surrounded by people who live out their lives working in the meat packing plant? That would go a long way to explaining a few things.
Posted by gromm on February 18, 2013 at 11:54 PM · Report this
24
@23 a friend of a friend of mine did a few years in prison because he wrapped his car around a tree and killed his best friend after a drunken night at Dante's in the U District. It's called vehicular homicide and you certainly can serve time for it. What if that ambulance had a patient in the back, and they weren't running the sirens? An elderly person being transported for surgery? There's no way- no way- that this woman is not going to see the inside of a courtroom and not suffer seriously for it. No one walks out of this a winner. Well, except maybe Westboro Baptist Church, I'm sure they'll be singing her praises.
Posted by stilettov on February 19, 2013 at 1:30 AM · Report this
25
Perhaps people should start moderate social drinking earlier, so that when they get a driving license they already have some sense of the effects of alcohol.
Posted by sebastian_j on February 19, 2013 at 1:37 AM · Report this
26

I have a friend who works in auto insurance claims. He deals first hand with people involved in - and injured and sometimes killed by - car accidents, and has for 20 yrs. The number one cause of car accidents, BY FAR, is not alcohol, but something totally, tragically avoidable: driver inattention. Even if the young woman hadn't been inebriated (if she was) it's just about a guarantee that she was too focused on listening to/paying attention to her GPS to be fully aware of what was around her.

People do dumb shit all the time, yet most of us don't pay for it by accidently/needlessly killing two people. Young people, particularly young males, are involved in and responsible for more car accidents than any other group save the very elderly, whose reaction time is too slow. It's carnage out there - something like 40,000 people killed every year in the US in car accidents - and in nearly every case it was avoidable if people had just woken the fuck UP and paid attention.

Also, anyone who tells you they had "one drink" or one and a half, is lying. It's known as a cliche even, amongst cops and insurance adjusters: along the lines of 'the check's is in the mail'.

Posted by Velvetbabe on February 19, 2013 at 3:37 AM · Report this
27
@23, my sister-in-law and a passenger were killed by a drunk driver. It was the other driver's second time caught driving under the influence.

She was sentenced to 17 years.
Posted by clashfan on February 19, 2013 at 6:55 AM · Report this
28
The mandatory sentencing of "DUI Laws" is bullshit. That's why I don't drive anymore. Not worth it. I know a woman who got one nevertheless that her BAC was .04. You can't tell what you're in for anytime you get into a motorized vehicle.

YET

Everyone does it. Has a drink or two and drives home.

What the law and police need to focus on are egregious offenders. Seriously fucked up people. But the revenue is what it's all about. A DUI will take up a year of your life and $10k at least and I am talking just going a mile or so to go to Jack in the Box at midnight. The DUI I got would have been a warning 15 years ago.

Driving in a revenue hungry country isn't worth it if you drink a drink or two.
Posted by ortolan on February 19, 2013 at 7:01 AM · Report this
Clara T 29
Florida fucking ruins everything.
Posted by Clara T on February 19, 2013 at 7:24 AM · Report this
Helix 30
@ortolan Then ride a fucking bicycle if you want to go out and drink.
Posted by Helix on February 19, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
31
@28. No, not everybody does it. In fact, I don't personally know anyone who does it, and yes, I do know quite a few people.
Posted by lepome on February 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
32
@28 No, everyone doesn't do it. I know some dangerously irresponsible people who have done it, but the vast majority of people I know--including myself--have never driven after having a drink.

It's incredibly easy to not get a DUI citation. Incredibly, absurdly, stupidly easy.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on February 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
TLjr 33
If the killer and the killing were in Wash. she might be looking at some time. In Indiana, I predict she won't spend a day in the slammer.

As always, if you really want to kill someone and get away with it, use a car.
Posted by TLjr on February 19, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
34
@28: Did you seriously just use the "everyone else is doing it" excuse to defend driving under the influence? Aside from being an appallingly stupid and immature thing to say, how on earth does the fact that "everyone else is doing it" make it safe?

When I was 19, a girl from my home town left a party, drunk (everyone else was doing it!), drove 40 miles without incident, and then came around a blind corner at 70 MPH on the wrong side of the road and hit me head-on.

She very nearly ended my life.

It was her first offense. She "wasn't that drunk (BA % 1.6)." She suffered only minor injuries.

20 years later, I am struggling to recover from PTSD caused by that accident. If you want to read about the kind of damage you and "everyone else" who gets behind the wheel after having a few drinks can cause in an innocent person's life, I invite you to come check out my blog: http://kate-thegirlwholived.blogspot.com…

Be sure to start with the first post, so you can read about the accident, the injuries, the permanent damage, the years of struggle that followed. THAT'S the reality of driving drunk, ortolan. Not "revenue."

Those laws aren't in place to inconvenience you and "everyone else" too stupid to walk to fucking Jack in the Box at midnight. They're there to protect the rest of us from your poor decisions.

And answer me this: after that $10k and the year of your life (a WHOLE year? Really? Poor baby! Try 20, and then get back to me), I bet you make sure you're sober before you get behind the wheel now, no matter how badly you want that Jumbo Jack. Am I right?

Sounds like an effective measure, to me.
More...
Posted by inconcvbl on February 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM · Report this
35
Timothy and Cody, Thank You for your service.
To the mayor and people of Indy, Thank You for your tribute to these fine men.
To the families and friends of Timothy and Cody, no words can heal your pain but know that their lives had the most sacred of purpose, to save lives. Know that we are all less for having lost them and more for having learned about them.
To the Diane Medleys of the world, it is you who need to find purpose in your lives. Going through life as bigots is not why you are here.
To Dan, thank you for giving Timothy and Cody such a meaningful eulogy.
Posted by kwodell on February 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
36
I didn't use the "everyone else is doing it". I'm saying for lack of a better response that even Bill Moyers got one. Do you really think Bill Moyers was fucking thrashed? It's so funny how people can jump all over a certain argument and lose the whole point. Say you have two beers at a BBQ in this upcoming summer and leave, YOU CAN GET A DUI ON THE WAY HOME even by blowing under the limit. My point was the mandatory sentencing as being a source of revenue. I am not advocating drunk driving, what I am saying is that for a majority of people it's the reverse but you get fucked for it anyway. How many times have any of you had a glass of wine at dinner and drove home? Exactly. You weren't drunk, but say you get pulled over, outta there with a single glass of wine and well under the "legal limit".

That's the way it is. But lots and lots of people drive after consumed a drink or two, you all know it and I find that level of consumption to be no problem at all. This is what I was referring to.
Posted by ortolan on February 19, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
37
@34 BAC 1.6 is death, you probably meant .16% which is drunk. Read my first comment again. Did I not say .04%? Again, exactly. I'm not talking about people who are fucking thrashed.

And no I don't drive after drinking. I just figure it's easier not to drive at all because it's just way too expensive.
Posted by ortolan on February 19, 2013 at 3:40 PM · Report this
38
@37: .16%, yes. Although your .16 and hers and mine might (and likely do) look very different. Same with our respective .04%. Which I did not miss; it just doesn't matter when it comes to impairment, legally or in my opinion.

The .08 "legal limit" does NOT mean that anything below that point is legal and everything above it is not. Impaired driving is impaired driving, whether you're blowing a .16, or stoned (which would be a 0.0 BAC by the way), or hopped up on no-doze.

It's the danger you're causing that is illegal, ortolan. And the legal limit of .08% only means that no further proof of your impairment is required by law enforcement. It does NOT mean that you're not impaired if you blow less than that.

Proof of that last concept seems to be in the fact that you were pulled over at all on your ill-fated trip to J&theB. The police aren't mind-readers, and there's also no radar gun for BAC. Might you have been driving in a way that indicated impaired ability?

I realize that getting a DUI sucks, but even you acknowledge that you weren't completely sober. Doesn't it follow that you might reconsider your definition of "under the influence," instead of blaming cops who wouldn't have had a reason to cite you if you hadn't been drinking and then gotten into your car?

And as for your other points, well. How many times have I "had a glass of wine at dinner and then drove home?" You mean, since I was nearly killed by a driver who did, in her mind, that same thing? ZERO. Zero times.

And I'm sorry, but "lots and lots of people drive after consumed a drink or two, you all know it and I find that level of consumption to be no problem at all" is just a longer way of saying "Everyone else is doing it." And it still doesn't mean it's safe, and it still doesn't mean it's okay.

I get that you're okay with it, just as you probably get that I'm not. But which one of us has the DUI?
More...
Posted by inconcvbl on February 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM · Report this
39
@37: Also, has it escaped your notice that the woman who killed the young man in this story only had a couple of drinks and drove home, too?

I'm sure she felt fine to drive. That's what leads every impaired person to get behind the wheel. But she was wrong, and learned that lesson at the expense of an innocent life.
Posted by inconcvbl on February 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
40
It still doesn't mean that driving in and of itself isn't inherently dangerous to begin with. However, a glass of wine at Canlis is different than getting smashed at The Ballroom and then going back to Greek Row. How can you not see this? I repeat, this happens all the time. People go to dinner all the time and have a beer or whatnot. I don't require of police to be mind readers, it is the intuition that comes first for me and the mandatory charges be done away with. We're all impaired at some point in our days and that doesn't mean drunk. It could mean fraught with anxiety, stress, PMS, angry male ass shit and of course cell phones. In fact, I would imagine having a single glass of wine would make one a better driver.

You can blow a .04 by just having ingested bread earlier in the day. Maybe you're gluten free?
Posted by ortolan on February 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
41
@40: "a glass of wine at Canlis is different than getting smashed at The Ballroom and then going back to Greek Row. How can you not see this?"

That's just it: if you're driving erratically enough that the cops notice and pull you over, there IS no difference. Regardless of how much you've had to drink, if you're driving erratically, you are unable to operate the vehicle safely, and you are putting lives in danger. How can you not see that?
Posted by inconcvbl on February 19, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
42
I'm trying to find the episode where Dan discussed this story. Can someone help me?

I'd like to share it with a friend who needs her head screwed on "straight" regarding same sex anything and everything.

Thanks.

DG
Posted by d.jonathan.g on May 5, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this

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