May 18, 2002
by Heather Hoge
My 19-year old cousin, Samantha Annette Moore "Sam" was killed by a drunk driver May 18, 2002. In the early hours of May 18, 2002, Sam got into the car with her on again off again boyfriend. He had been drinking, doing drugs and popping pills all night. They were clocked going 112 mph on the interstate. Instead of pulling over, the driver decided to outrun the police. The police followed them off of the interstate and onto a road about a mile from where Sam lived with her parents. At the time of Sam's death, her father was in the hospital for ongoing health issues. Traveling at such high speeds combined with a drunk and drugged driver resulted in the car running off the road into a cow pasture and Sam being thrown from the car. To make matters worse, the driver (who supposedly "loved " Sam)climbed from the car and ran from the scene. This was witnessed by the police officer who was following them. The driver decided he was going to hide because on top of being drunk and drugged, he was driving on a suspended license in a car with no insurance. The police officer who came across the scene first stopped to see if he could help Sam in any way, and he called for back-up. Sam was pronounced dead at the scene from her head slamming into a tree trunk.
The driver of the car was found about 25-30 minutes later. He was hiding in a creek overhang, attempting to blend in with his surroundings. He refused a breathalyzer at that time, as well as pleading the 5th. When asked why he ran from the scene, he stated "Because my license was suspended". The driver was taken to the hospital from the scene of the crash. He never once asked about Sam. He did not know if she was dead or alive. She was listed as an unidentified white female. When he was informed that Sam did not make it, he then stated "Who said I was driving the car? She was."
In December 2007 we had trial. The driver was indicted on seven different charges. Out of the 7, these are the 3 that he was "charged" with: involuntary manslaughter, eluding the police and felony hit and run. The time sentenced: 5 years on eluding the police, 5 suspended, 5 years on felony hit and run, 5 suspended and 9 years, 2 months on involuntary manslaughter, 4 suspended. Needless to say, it was PROVEN that he was the driver. He did not suffer any injuries other than road rash from where his arm scraped on the road when the car was flipping. He was able to climb from the car and run away from the scene, leaving someone he said he cared about and then lied about everything. At trial, he took an Alpha Plea, which means he was not saying he was guilty, but he "admitted" there was enough evidence to prove him guilty.
During the time he was in jail, he was allowed to have work release near the end of his stay. He abused this advantage as well because he was seen at a St. Patricks Day festival with beer trucks. A normal person who had a warm caring heart would be devastated that they had caused someones death. Not him. He proved that he did not care one bit.
He is out of jail now. I, myself, have not ran into him anywhere. Some days I want to and some I dont. What would I say? How would I react? I wonder that a lot. Of course as more time goes on, my anger is not as intense as it once was. My sadness is forever. I would love to make sure that he feels what we feel. He is able to walk around free now. He is able to see his family and celebrate holidays and birthdays. Sam's family gets to cry on holidays and birthdays and send balloons to Heaven and visit the crash site and cemetary.
I hope that everyone who reads this story is affected in some way. Sam had so much to offer this world and in a second it was all taken away.
Also Sam's father who was in the hospital at the time of her death passed away 6 weeks after she did. He was able to attend her funeral, on a stretcher, transported from the hospital.