Enhancing our justice system, stop future crimes

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 17, 2017

Just north of Hattiesburg a tragedy occurred this week that no emergency responder ever wants to hear, three volunteer firefighters were struck, two of whom died, by a hit and run driver while working an accident scene.

According to various news coverage, the accident occurred Wednesday evening after 6, while volunteer firefighters were working an accident involving a dump truck entangled in power lines.

Two of the emergency personnel passed away from blunt force trauma, while the third was transported for medical care. The accused, 31-year-old Brandon Chance Eaton, has been arrested for leaving the scene of an accident causing death, and given a $100,000 bond.

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News coverage by WDAM states the officers suspect he was under the influence at the time

of his arrest, which took place a short time after the incident. Blood samples will be examined by the crime lab, meaning more charges could be pending.

There are two layers to this story of note. The first is that Eaton is the son of two volunteer firefighters at a neighboring department. Secondly, Eaton has a long record of prior arrests, according to WDAM.

His offenses, according to the television station, go back as far as 2005, where he was given five years of probation for a controlled substance possession conviction.

Five years later, he was convicted of possession of methamphetamine, and given another five years of probation and mandated to go through the drug court program.

Three times between 2012 and 2013 he was arrested for drug court probation violation.

This type of story may sound ridiculous, for a person to be arrested so many times only to receive a slap on the wrist just about every time, but occurs far too often.

If our justice system was more effective, there is a real possibility that this person would have received the help he so clearly needs, or at the very least been put in a facility for a substantial period of time where he could do no harm.