Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Galaxy Not So Far Away


There are freak accidents and then there are freak acts of temporal stupidity which change lives forever and alter their course towards an irrevocable dead end. That was the case in the early morning hours of December 4, 1982 when Thomas Hart and his wife were returning to their Westland home from an evening spent with friends. While driving along a poorly lit road a projectile slammed into the hood of their car and through the windshield striking Mr. Hart in the head before exiting through the back window. He was taken to Wayne County General Hospital with traumatic injuries to his brain and was kept alive via life support systems. Within 24 hours he showed no brain activity and his organs were harvested and donated at the request of his family.

Police recovered a mud-laden 14 pound Galaxy model bowling ball from the side of the road near the accident scene. They tracked its make and manufacturer to a Kmart limited distributor and the Michigan based chain store aided police in their investigation towards tracking down the owner. Since there were no bridges or overpasses in the area, officials believed that somebody had thrown it from a nearby wooded area or another vehicle. It took several newspaper accounts of the story before 5 young men came forward with details concerning the case.

They were returning from a bowling outing when 18 year old Charles Joseph Borg, Jr. of Wayne decided that he didn't want the "crummy ball" any more and decided to chuck it out the window. It is assumed that the men were intoxicated at the time and they claimed to have no knowledge of the fate of the ball until hearing about it through media reports. Shaken by the incident they turned themselves in for questioning where the details of the story were revealed.

Borg was later charged with manslaughter and plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter. On June 30, 1983, Wayne County Circuit Judge Richard Kaufman sentenced Borg to 2 six month terms 4 years apart (go figure that one out!) at the Detroit House of Corrections that would be sandwiched around 2 years of extensive probation and community service. Kaufman explained that even though the sentenced seemed harsh that many  would deem it too lenient in light of the loss of life. Borg was also ordered not to drink during this 5 year period or face violation of his sentence.

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