Letter: Get the Facts Straight, Please
To the Editor:
Is it possible for Valley News staff writers to get their facts straight? In your Sept. 13 story about the sentencing of Shane Harlow, Windsor County State’s Attorney Michael Kainen says he approved of the light sentence that defendant Harlow received in connection with an incident on Interstate 91 in October 2012 because an autopsy done on student Mikhail Lomakin, along with other evidence, suggested that Lomakin was dead before Harlow ran him over. Harlow was sentenced to 30 days for leaving the scene of an accident. Kainen is then quoted as saying that he would have sought a longer sentence if he could prove that Lomakin was alive when Harlow ran over him.
Your staff writer reported, “While lying on the pavement, (Lomakin) was struck by at least two vehicles, Harlow’s was the second.” Harlow failed to stop, according to the article, left the scene and went to his mother’s home. Your staff writer then names the other man, Justin Ciccarelli, who ran over this body “before” Harlow.
Actually Ciccarelli ran over Lomakin’s body after Harlow left the scene of the accident. Ciccarelli pulled over, called 911 and stayed with Lomakin’s body until early morning, helping the police put the timeline together. Your article’s content, especially in conjunction with the state attorney’s quotes, gives a most inaccurate impression that Ciccarelli was possibly responsible for Lomakin’s death. If the time had been taken to research your own previous articles and coverage of this horrific incident, perhaps the article would have been closer to accurate.
And how does the Valley News print corrections, which you did in this case? A tiny box on the last page of the first section printed the following day does not make up for a monumental mistake like this. Find a better way to notify your readers of a mistake and please take the time to get your facts straight. And when you’re either writing about or quoting someone else’s words concerning someone who has passed on, please have the decency to use the person’s name. He was not just a body. He was a student, a human being and someone’s son.