Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Douglas Robert Burrows

Douglas Robert Burrows or "Doug" to most was my best friend. He was with me when I bought my first camera a Nikon FE-2 at Pan Pacific Camera many years ago. We also shot hundreds of assignments together back in the day. He was more than a friend, he was a guide possibly a saint. Doug would give the shirt off his back or his last penny to help someone in need with no hesitation. He was also a wonderful photographer, on his way to becoming a great one. His life was cut short days before his 30th birthday on a downtown LA street in 1993. Doug was a victim of a hit and run collision. A speeding 18 wheeler truck ran a red light crashing in his red Toyota Celica. Doug was knocked unconscious by the impact and soon flames began to engulf his car. The truck's driver, Rogelio Pereira, looked into Doug's car rendering no help at all fled on foot leaving Doug to die in the flames. Pereira would soon flee to Mexico and hide there as a fugitive for 14 years. The very hard work of Doug's family, the LAPD, US Marshals Office, and the Mexican Police finally brought Pereira to justice. Pereira was caught by Mexican Police and expelled as an "undesirable person" because he was a US citizen and had no legal standing in Mexico. Pereira stood trial this month for the 1993 collision and pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter before jury selection was complete. His murder plea was dismissed because he pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter according to Deputy District Attorney Catherine Chon. LA Superior Court Judge Drew Edwards sentenced Pereira to 11 years and 8 months in State prison. Pereira who was a fugitive for 14 years, and was previously wanted for drug charges in Arizona, will serve less time than he was in hiding. I remember Doug for not being a vindictive person or harboring any hate at all, but I am and do. The light sentence that Periera received is a huge slap in the face to his family, law enforcement, justice, and to me. I wonder if the same sentence would be rendered if the victim was a LA Superior Court Judge, or a Deputy District Attorney, or a member of law enforcement. Maybe Doug's final legacy to me is to forgive. It will be a long road and huge challenge to get there, but in memory of Doug I will try.