It's every parent's worst nightmare to lose their child in a tragic accident. But for the parents of Harrison Long-Randall, those fears were realized when he as a result of a hit-and-run that also left his girlfriend critically injured and killed her four dogs.
In an effort to address the community and push for justice, Long-Randall's family, along with his girlfriend Gemily West and her family, held a press conference Thursday morning. It was held at Gemily West's parent's home, which stands within eyesight of the intersection driver allegedly sped through the night of July 16.
“I'm mourning all the time...it's horrific,” said Chris Randall, Harrison's father. “There's a part of me that's gone.”
He said he promised his son to enact a law – to be known as “Harry's Law” – that would keep people who have been convicted of driving under the influence off the streets.
Chris Randall said he also wants the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office to add charges to the case against Walden, who has three previous DUI convictions. A DA's Office spokeswoman said Wednesday that , but as of 1 p.m. Thursday, no announcement had been made.
“80 miles an hour without stopping,” Chris Randall said. “If you've seen his sheet, and they don't learn from one time...”
“It's just a tragedy and this guy should get what's coming to him,” he said.
The hit-and-run occurred , around 10 p.m., as the couple walked the dogs through the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Engle Road, which is a four-way stop. Family members said Long-Randall and Gemily West, and even the dogs, were wearing reflective gear.
Gemily West, 23, was pushed out of the way by her boyfriend, who took the brunt of the collision. Randall-Long, 21, died 13 days later after losing a leg and making what appeared to be a slight recovery. He died from “complications of multiple blunt force injury” as a result of being hit by the car, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's Office.
West, who appeared at the conference but didn't speak, was in a wheelchair with visible scrapes to one foot. Her older brother, Corben West, stood beside her, at times visibly shaken by the emotions the events brought up.
“To me and to any reasonable human being, this is not an accident, this was willful and wanton disregard,” he said. “Something has to be done.”
Mary Beth Randall, Harrison's older sister, spoke on behalf of their mother who couldn't be there. “The morning of July 29 is the morning my heart broke into a million pieces,” she said. She also gave thanks and praise to law enforcement, the hospital and the community for their support.
Speaking for herself, Mary Beth's voice wavered as she took in her loss. “You never expect your younger brother to pass away,” she said. “He's no longer with us because somone decided to get in the car...after whatever he was on.”
Trevor West, Gemily's older brother, said repeat DUI offenders need to be taken off the street. “Remember, it could be your family,” he said. “We never thought we'd be on this side.”
He likened the actions of Walden – who remains in the Sacramento County main jail, ineligible for bail – to someone pulling a gun. “That guy was driving a bullet that night – he needs to face consequences,” Trevor West said.
Walden, of North Highlands, has been charged with two counts of hit-and-run, one count of DUI, four counts of animal torture and two counts of driving on a suspended or revoked license. He's scheduled to appear in court August 8 for a settlement conference.