Driver, after a terrible wrong, plans to work to make amends
Sep 17, 2009
When it came down to it, even the defense attorney couldn't mince words. His client was guilty of a truly horrific drunken-driving crash: striking a blind man on the sidewalk, breaking his pelvis and legs in eight places, then driving away.
But what made this case different from countless others, Jim O'Rourke said moments before a judge sentenced his client to prison Thursday, was that the Northeast Portland man did everything right after he did something that was so wrong. The judge and the prosecutor agreed.
Jack Alvord booked himself into a 30-day residential treatment center. He pushed his insurance company to settle with his victim for $1.25 million. Once he is out of prison, he has agreed to sit beside the man, Norman Larkin, and tell other drunken drivers what happened when he made the terrible decision to drink and drive.
Ron Greenen, an attorney representing Larkin's interests, said in his 34 years of practice he had never before seen a defendant take the initiative to visit his victim outside court and apologize.
Larkin says he considers Alvord "a new friend." That's not to downplay the injuries Larkin, 51, suffered Feb. 7 as he stood on the sidewalk near Northeast 57th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, his white cane in hand.
Alvord's car leapt onto the sidewalk and pinned Larkin against a utility pole. As Alvord attempted to drive away, witnesses said he struck Larkin again, then once again. Fourteen people saw the broad-daylight incident, and some followed Alvord, 61, as he drove away. They boxed him in less than a mile later.
Alvord had a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 percent, approaching four times the legal limit for driving.