Yesterday a Kotzebue jury convicted Patrick Tickett, 22, of manslaughter, first-degree assault and drunken driving following a 2008 accident that killed Roger Gollub of Anchorage and seriously injured Kotzebue musher Tracey Schaeffer.
Schaeffer sustained seven broken ribs, a shattered spleen, a ruptured diaphragm and a damaged aorta, among other injuries, she said.
Today she described her reaction to the jury's verdict:
By TRACEY SCHAEFFER
I can’t really use the word “pleased” about any aspect of this entire situation, since Roger is still gone and the fact that between the two of us we have given decades of our lives to working with the youth of this region and then to have something like this happen is devastating.
I am satisfied with the verdict for three reasons…
1. I do hope that Patrick Tickett gets some help. We need the young people of the region here as productive members of their communities, taking care of their elders and raising their children but not as a danger to others as he is now.
2. I hope the younger generation of kids in this region and throughout rural Alaska can look at this and realize they have the power to make different choices; to not die or kill drinking and driving, and that all of us need to be personally responsible for our actions. Too many people are lost every year to drinking and driving and a lack of taking personal responsibility. It’s a huge problem and we need to do something about it, as parents and community members, now.
3. As a dog musher, the precedent that the defense was trying to set was appalling. Basically, it was stated that the very act of being on multiuse trails on anything but a snowmachine traveling less than 60 mph is putting yourself in ‘imminent peril’ so whatever collision may occur is your fault. Secondly it was stated that anytime a dog musher sees a snowmachine approaching in the distance they should move off the trail at least 30 feet and wait for the machine to pass, just in case. Both ludicrous ideas, especially in a state carved by dog mushing trails.
I want to thank the jury, the witnesses, Gregg Olson and Victor Kester from the Office of Victims Rights for their hard work. I also want to thank all of the people who sent thoughts, prayers and support. Kotzebue also welcomed and supported Dr. Gollub’s family, thanks to all of you.