First a tragic note as former UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell was leaving a fitness center on January 6th and struck an elderly woman who died two days later.
According to WRAL.com: “Investigators said [Betty] Colby was struck by Hatchell’s vehicle, which was eastbound through the parking lot and made a slow left turn in front of the business when the crash occurred.”
She was cited for misdemeanor death by vehicle and unsafe movement violation.
First, what an awful thing for the Colby family. It’s been devastating for them we’re sure. They’re suffering more than anyone else in this and far more than Hatchell may be, although we wouldn’t minimize her suffering either.
Second, while there’s a lot we don’t know here, based on what we read here there’s a contradiction or at least something unclear in the story.
If Hatchell was moving slowly, how was her movement unsafe? Obviously there’s something missing here. Maybe she turned the wrong way on a one-way?
Whatever it was, we’re sure she’s devastated. We met her once, in a waiting room, and while she came across as a grumpy sort, we also found her gracious and patient.
We also sat next to her son at Cameron when he was a middle schooler, roughly, and found him to be a sweet, funny kid. We’ve thought of him often since then and what a nice young man he was. He’s bound to be hurting too and like the Colbys, he’s an innocent in all of this.
None of that means much now of course, and of course Hatchell bears responsibility for Mrs. Colby’s death, but those were our impressions.
All we’re saying is that obviously the Colbys are suffering but we’re sure the Hatchells are as well. Not many of us could talk about the agony of ending someone’s life thankfully, but as Jim Boeheim, among others, would tell you, it’s a searing experience.
So we’d urge Duke fans and everyone else not to make jokes or say cruel things on social media. Please remember that not only is Hatchell coming to terms with what she’s done but so is her family, as are, of course, the Colbys. There are surely children affected on both sides and possibly grandchildren. Please remember that if you’re tempted to let it fly.