According to his public defender, James Gleich “suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks that render him helpless” as well as a brain injury from an accident in which a door fell onto his head in 2001. He takes a variety of medications for these problems.
This information is included in an affidavit about Gleich that was filed in court by his lawyer, Marie Desmond, in efforts to get Gleich released from jail.
Gleich, you may remember, is charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless driving in the crash that killed Mingo Shay Pelkey as she waited on her bike to make a left turn off of River Road last August. It was his third automobile wreck in about 10 weeks.
The judge set bond at $50,000, and Gleich was released from the Lane County Jail on March 9 after his father paid $5,000, 10 percent of the bond amount. He had been in jail for close to two weeks, after being arrested on Feb. 26.
Now he is on electronic surveillance, is not supposed to leave his home and must wear one of those ankle bracelets that alerts the sheriff’s department if he does.
- He “suffers from a painful physical injury that occurred when a fire door, improperly installed, fell from a third floor landing onto Mr. Gleich’s head. He suffered brain injury and several crushed vertebrae since this 2001 accident and remains in substantial daily pain,” Desmond writes.
- The affidavit says that Gleich takes three separate psychiatric medications, as well as a pain reliever called Norco, which is a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.
- Gleich used to work in construction in California. He now receives Social Security disability payments.
- “Gleich’s driver’s license has been suspended indefinitely for medical reasons, and he no longer operates a motor vehicle,” Desmond writes.
Let’s assume this is an accurate account, and not overblown (not to cast aspersions on his lawyer, but it is her job after all to put the defendant in the best possible light).
If it is accurate, things would be starting to make a little more sense here. Well, no, it’s still senseless. But since this all began I have wondered what had to happen for a guy who is 53 years old and had no criminal record that I could determine, to suddenly have three traffic wrecks in 10 weeks, one of them fatal.
If all of this is accurate and true, I might even muster some sympathy for James Gleich.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to suggest he be absolved from personal responsibility just yet. I’m sure there are more details that will come out.
But it certainly makes a few other questions seem much more important. Like:
- Why was he licensed to drive in the first place?
- Do we make it just too damn easy to get a drivers license?
- Or do we just not take seriously enough how dangerous an automobile is?
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For a list of all posts about the Mingo Pelkey case, go here.