Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

A Hit-and-RunTragedy in N.C.


Grayson Dawson, a 49-year-old woman who lives in my part of the country is preparing to spend at least 14 months in prison for felony hit-and-run causing a death, misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and not having an operator’s license.  She feels extreme guilt for her actions one year ago, as evidenced by this quote she gave to her local newspaper: “I think I deserve to be hung,” Dawson whispered, looking down at the ground. “I took a life and I know it was an accident, but it still happened.”

In her first public comments since she fell asleep at the wheel of her car (while sedated on multiple medications), Ms. Dawson said that on her birthday, she’ll be thinking not about herself but about David Sherman, the Summerfield, N.C.  bicyclist she struck and killed a year ago today when she fell asleep at the wheel of her SUV.  “I’d have given anything that it could have been me and not him, because I took him away from his wife and his children and friends.”

How could one apologize and request forgiveness for such a horrific tragedy?  The driver, Ms. Dawson is quoted as saying that she has started to write a letter to Ann Sherman (his widow) several times but hasn’t finished it:  “It has been difficult to find the right words….I don’t know. I just know it’s going to take a long, long time for her to forgive me, because to this day, I haven’t forgiven myself. How could I expect her to forgive me? I can’t imagine how’s she’s feeling…I hope that through her church family and her friends, that somehow, some way she’s found peace.”

My heart breaks over this accident.  What would you say about this situation? Have any advice?  Condolences?

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