Family frustrated by crash

June 30, 2009 3:22:23 PM PDT
A Durham family wants answers after a police pursuit and crash that left an 84-year-old grandfather badly hurt.Walter Paschall is fighting for his life at Duke University Medical Center.

Police say he was hurt when his car was hit by another vehicle driven by 26-year-old Cornelius Baldwin.

Officers say Baldwin was speeding, and an officer had just turned to follow him, when he blew through a red light and hit Paschall. Baldwin allegedly got out of his car and ran off on foot. He was later arrested.

He's now charged with eluding officers. His bond was originally set at $100,000. A judge later lowered it to just $10,000 and Baldwin bonded out.

That despite a record that shows he's been charged with driving with a revoked license twice. A reckless driving charge was dismissed.

Baldwin's release isn't sitting well with Paschall's family.

To let him out if he's so dangerous, my dad almost died and still could, I mean he's not out of the woods," said Paschall's daughter Debbie Ackert.

The judge who reduced Baldwin's bail declined to comment saying it's a pending case. The Durham DA's office says the bond amount - while low - still falls within state guidelines.

Ackert says she was told the judge was not made aware of her father's grave condition in court. Her daughter shares her frustration.

"I want justice. I don't believe that someone who runs into an elderly man … should get away with it," said granddaughter Brooke Ackert.

The family says Baldwin's alleged actions have left their vibrant loved one in a battle to survive.

"If they smack him on the wrist now, he's not going to realize [the] full impact of his actions," said Debbie Ackert.


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