By Esme Murphy

I am in no way excusing a fatal hit and run. And in no way does the situation that Joe Senser and his family are going through come close to the suffering of the family of Anousone Phanthavong.

Phanthavong was killed August 23 when an SUV owned by Senser hit him as he was filling up his car with gas on a highway ramp. The SUV took off. The Senser family, at the advice of their attorney, is not saying who was behind the wheel.

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It is because I spent time with the Senser family working on a story in 2004 that I feel for them at this time too. They had taken a Peruvian boy into their home who was in need of multiple surgeries. Their generosity, their caring was touching. They are good and decent people. When their attorney says they are grieving for the victim, I believe it.

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I know there will be those that will say the situation they are in now shows they are anything but good. But over the years, I have covered my fair share of stories were fundamentally good people make a bad call, a stupid decision that not only affects others, but often destroys their own lives. These cases have always made me think of the fragility of all of our actions. I would argue that we are all capable of the moral fall, the slip, the mistake that could have serious consequences.

The grief of a community belongs with the family of Anousone Phanthavong. But I know for some there is also great sorrow for the Sensers.

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On Sept. 2 the Senser family’s attorney said the driver in the fatal hit and run was Joe Senser’s wife, Amy.

Esme Murphy