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Man Sentenced in Tragic Hit-and-Run Case Exposes Silence on Traffic Fatalities

Man Sentenced in Tragic Hit-and-Run Case Exposes Silence on Traffic Fatalities
Source: Delaware Online

In a solemn courtroom scene, Michael D. Pinkett, a 52-year-old man, received a five-year and 60-day prison sentence for a drunken hit-and-run that claimed the life of Shantasia Binaird in late 2021. Binaird, a mother of three, was delivering food in Wilmington to support her family when Pinkett crashed into her car. The sentencing, decided by Superior Court Judge Mary Miller Johnston, was a recommended punishment agreed upon by both prosecutors and the defense attorney.

Unearthing Silence: Investigation into Police Practices

The details of Binaird’s tragic death and the subsequent crash remained unknown to the public until her sister, Chris Binaird, reached out to Delaware Online/The News Journal. This prompted an investigation into Wilmington police practices, revealing a longstanding practice of silence regarding traffic fatalities in the city. The Wilmington police, following the spotlight on the matter, committed to reporting all traffic fatalities moving forward. Experts, including former Wilmington police officer James Nolan, emphasized the importance of transparency for the healing process of victims’ families, the community, and law enforcement.

Challenges and Advocacy: Seeking Accountability for Victims

The aftermath of Binaird’s death brought forth numerous challenges for her family, from struggles in identifying her body to concerns about the legal proceedings. Despite Pinkett being charged with first-degree vehicular homicide and drunken driving soon after the fatal crash, the family faced delays and hurdles in the case, including the mislabeling of Binaird’s body as Jane Doe. Chris Binaird and her family advocated for justice and accountability, fearing Pinkett would remain free without their intervention. Pinkett’s guilty plea in August of the same year finally marked a significant step towards closure for the grieving family.

In the wake of the tragic incident, the Binaird family’s perseverance has not only brought justice for Shantasia Binaird but has also shed light on the need for increased transparency in reporting traffic fatalities. The case serves as a stark reminder of the profound impact such incidents have on families and communities and emphasizes the importance of a thorough and compassionate approach to both legal proceedings and public awareness.

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