A compassionate sentence

Friday , June 20, 2014 - 12:17 PM

Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

You’ve probably seen the video by now.

A car speeds by a Woods Cross police officer and is hit by a train. As the officer attempts to get into the damaged car, he has to get out of the way before another train slams into the wrecked vehicle.

Amazingly, the driver of the car, Bonnie Jean Stroud, survived the dramatic event. However, she still faced multiple charges. She plead guilty in February to one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, a class A misdemeanor, and one count of reckless driving, a class B misdemeanor.

At her sentencing this week in Farmington’s 2nd District Court, we got glimpses that there is more to this story.

Judge John Morris noted that the 30-year-old Salt Lake City resident was the closest to a “trafficking” he has ever had come before him.

Full details of Stroud’s past weren’t revealed in court, but she has an extensive arrest record for prostitution in Utah and other states. In 2011, she was caught up in a undercover sting operation in Florida that saw 60 people arrested. In the Davis County court, the judge, and her defense attorney, Steve Burton, outlined glimpses of a woman who had the “deck stacked against her” from the beginning.

As reported by Loretta Park, Burton said Stroud had been exposed “to some things no young child should have been exposed to or subjected to.” Stroud had been a victim in a hostage situation in California. She testified against the man who is now serving a prison sentence, even though he had threatened her life, Burton said.

Morris said Stroud’s past was the “most compelling for compassion.” He sentenced Stroud to serve 90 days of home confinement and two years probation. She is to get substance abuse evaluation and mental health evaluation, as well as undergo treatment. He also ordered her to pay a fine of $1,370 for the DUI conviction and also to pay restitution to two men and to the Union Pacific Railroad.

We agree with Judge Morris. Stroud’s case appears to warrant a light sentence because her actions could be attributed to what appears to be a tragic past.

We hope the near-brush with death at the railroad crossing helps turn her life around. In any case, she seems to be someone who deserves a second chance at a life.

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