Stories on fatal accident victim ‘insensitive’, ‘distasteful’

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This letter is in response to the article in the paper on Feb. 22, 2010, regarding the fatal car accident of my son, Christopher Lynn Jr., and the subsequent report given to Jackson television station WJTV by Chief Walter Armstrong.

First, Armstrong’s comments to The Post and WJTV were distasteful and disrespectful of a family who had just lost their 19-year-old child — no matter the circumstances.

Second, Armstrong’s version was somewhat different from that of the witness no one bothered to interview and the person who made the 911 call. When my husband and I saw the WJTV report, our deep sadness turned to anger as a result of Armstrong’s accounting of the accident as he tried to portray our son as a criminal.

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My husband then called Armstrong and the mayor’s office. When Armstrong talked to my husband, his tone was arrogant, rude, disrespectful. He did offer a word of condolence, but it was meaningless.

My son wasn’t a murderer, a thief, a rapist, or part of a dangerous gang. My son was not a criminal. In fact, Christopher was a loving father, son, brother, grandson and friend. He absolutely exercised poor judgment last Tuesday morning and we’ve had to pay the ultimate price, but he was not a criminal.

Third, Armstrong, when did a misdemeanor traffic violation begin to warrant a high-speed chase? I think the citizens of Vicksburg deserve an answer.

We’ve received calls and comments from people in all walks of life regarding the tone of the article in The Post written by Ben Mackin.

Tell me, Mr. Mackin, what point did it serve to compound a families’ grief with your article? Do you not interview witnesses before publishing? Are you so callous that you have no regard for pain and suffering of families with broken hearts from losing a young son? Are you a parent? Is selling newspapers more important than compassion?

I called your office two days ago when we heard that you wanted to do a follow-up article. Why haven’t you returned my call?

In closing, I would be remiss if I neglected to publicly thank Mayor Paul Winfield, Sheriff Martin Pace and Coroner Doug Huskey for their many acts of sympathy, kindness and thoughtfulness toward our family during the tragic loss of our beloved Christopher.

The heartfelt condolences and prayers from so many, even strangers, have touched our hearts and been a blessing. Thank you all and God bless.

Michelle and Chris Lynn