Dec. 3, 2008 12:00

Tolly Carr should stay clear of TV, role model position

Tolly Carr should stay clear of TV, role model position

After serving a slapon-the-wrist sentence for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, former WXII TV anchor Tolly Carr will be a free man in May. In the meantime, Carr and his attorneys have been busy averting a wrongful death jury trial that was initially sought by the victim’s family. Late last month, Carr made what’s called a “confession of judgement,” in which he agreed to make restitution to the family of Casey Bokhoven, beginning one year after his release.

The question remains: What kind of job will Carr secure that will allow him to make regular payments to the Bokhovens? Hopefully it wouldn’t be as an anchor or reporter for a North Carolina TV station. That’s because the last thing we need is a death-dealing drunk in a position of prominence, standing as a role model to kids, emceeing community events, speaking to student groups and giving inspirational talks to churches about his difficult personal journey.

Not long after his arrest last year, Carr tried to peddle his sob story to the public.

The problem is he didn’t peddle the entire truth. He led friends and supporters to believe the Bokhoven tragedy was an accident borne out of a one-time incident.

But the night Tolly ran down young Bokhoven was far from the first time Carr had gone bar-hopping, drank to excess and then gotten behind the wheel of a car. On that fateful night, Carr had been throwing down drinks at three different bars and was three sheets to the wind when he allegedly phoned not one, but two different taxi companies to see how much they would charge him for a trip home. Not satisfied with their responses, Carr then made a conscious and deliberate decision to drive drunk, and his friends let him. The result was no “accident.” As far as I see it, it was murder with a deadly weapon.

For that, I believe he should have been given a life sentence. Instead, the court was lenient. So be it. But come May, MADD and other anti-drunk-driving groups should keep a close watch on this situation. Carr’s first job out of prison should be a low-profile, behind-the-scenes position. If he wants to return to television, then he should work as a news producer or assignment editor, but certainly not as an anchor or reporter. Any station that would put Carr in front of the camera no doubt would face the consequences of nagging negative publicity.

Moreover, restoring Carr’s fame would be an insult to the Bokhovens. After all, it was because of Carr’s notoriety that bartenders kept serving him alcohol past the point of excess, which resulted in the brutal death of a loving son and brother. And speaking of those bars, two of them have since settled out of Court with the Bokhovens, while the third has declared bankruptcy.

So Tolly, if you want to be in front of the camera again, go do it somewhere out of state, and spare us your public rehabilitation.

The pain of Casey Bokhoven’s death is still too fresh in our minds, and you haven’t yet earned the right to reintegrate into decent society, at least not as a celebrity.

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).

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