The only good news about the 12-year manslaughter sentence for Richard Webster Scott for driving drunk the wrong way on Interstate 5 is that justice has finally been served in the death of Ashland resident Karen Greenstein. That it took more than two years to bring the case to trial merely added to the tragedy suffered by Greenstein's family.
Now, a lawsuit filed by Greenstein's survivors can proceed. It was on hold while Scott delayed his trial by repeatedly dumping attorneys appointed to defend him. He tried to do it again during his two-day trial this week but was denied.
Scott purchased beer in Cave Junction at 1 a.m. the night of the crash, then stopped for gas in Grants Pass. An attendant called police because Scott was obviously highly intoxicated, but he drove away, and responding officers couldn't locate him. He drove south on Interstate 5, turned around at Talent and headed back north in the southbound lanes at an estimated 75-100 mph.
Greenstein, an emergency dispatcher, was heading home about 3 a.m. after a late shift when Scott's vehicle sheared off the driver's side of her car, killing her.
Her family's lawsuit alleges the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles was negligent in issuing Scott a driver's license after his license was suspended and revoked in California for drunken driving. We don't know how whether the lawsuit will succeed, but if it results in denying a license to the next Richard Webster Scott, it could help prevent more tragedy.