I previously reported on the fatal accident that killed Tabitha Stanton back in September. Robert William Cook was charged with negligent homicide on February 23, 2010, in the Eaton County District Court. According to witness statements, Mr. Cook was attempting to change lanes when his truck clipped the front corner of the vehicle carrying Stanton, causing the car to hit the median and roll over several times. It was alleged Mr. Cook’s truck was exceeding the posted speed limit just before the crash happened. The car Tabitha was riding in was being driven by Mr. Cook’s mother, Catherine Cook.
This unfortunate incident is made more tragic given that everyone involved in the crash knew each other. Based upon the reporting at the time of the crash, everyone in Tabitha’s car and Mr. Cook were all heading back from a volleyball tournament. Mr. Cook’s family members, who were all friends with Tabitha, told reporters they didn’t believe Tabitha would want charges pressed against him.
It’s difficult to say what Tabitha would want, given that she is no longer able to speak for herself on this matter. If the facts are as the prosecutors allege, then they have the ability pursue criminal charges and it would be up to a jury to determine whether Mr. Cook should be punished for his alleged actions. Ultimately, it is for a jury to decide whether Mr. Cook is responsible for what happened, even if that means punishing someone who was a friend to the person he hurt. Just because Mr. Cook was charged with the crime does not mean he will be convicted, that’s why we have trials and attorneys who can represent people charged with crimes.