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Community service, probation for driver who struck, killed Boise elderly couple in 2019

Bob and Florence Goar died after being hit in a crosswalk by Christopher Lammey in February 2019.
Credit: Emily Rogers
An undated photo of Bob and Florence Goar.

BOISE, Idaho — Bob Goar died at 89 years old in March 2019 about a week after Christopher Lammey struck him with a car in a crosswalk, but those close to Goar would say, in some ways, he died of a broken heart.

That’s because Lammey, 36, also struck and killed Goar’s wife, Florence Goar, 87, said Jonathan Roundy, the prosecutor who appeared at Lammey’s sentencing Monday. Florence Goar acted as her husband’s caretaker, because he was beginning to show signs of dementia, Roundy said during the sentencing, which took place by video call. She died much sooner after the crash, which occurred the evening of Feb. 27, 2019, at the intersection of West Northview and North Milwaukee streets. When it became clear to him, even though the haze of dementia, that his wife was gone, some felt Bob Goar simply stopped fighting as hard to live, Roundy said.

The Idaho Press reports prosecutors last summer charged Lammey with two counts of misdemeanor vehicular homicide. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to ask Ada County Magistrate Judge Michael Oths to dismiss one count, something he did on Monday.

RELATED: Driver who hit elderly couple in Boise crosswalk charged with manslaughter

Oths suspended Lammey’s driver’s license for a year, although Lammey’s attorney, Michael Bartlett, indicated he wanted to apply for exceptions so Lammey could drive for work. Oths also sentenced Lammey to 120 hours of community service, and specified — per a request from the Goars’ family — that the community service directly help veterans of the U.S. military, because Bob Goar was himself a veteran who volunteered his time to help other veterans.

The Goars’ deaths attracted a great deal of public interest, and a large crowd gathered — undeterred by rain — for a walk of silence in their memory in March 2019.

The deaths also prompted an increased interest in pedestrian safety in Ada County. The Ada County Highway District later added a system to intersections that would override flashing yellow arrows if a pedestrian pushes a walk signal. The flashing yellow arrow didn’t factor into the Goars’ deaths, however, and highway district officials said the updated signals were not in direct response to the couple’s death, but an effort to prevent such incidents.

RELATED: 'They never wanted to be apart': Couple in deadly Boise crash were about to celebrate 61st anniversary

Roundy said while he didn’t know the Goars personally, “I can, though, echo the sense of loss from a community perspective. … (The Goars) are basically the type of upstanding citizens that make this community what it is.”

Bartlett, Lammey’s attorney, said Lammey took responsibility for the crash, but said as Lammey was turning onto Milwaukee Street, another large car turned as well.

“My client was turning behind the Suburban, and so the Suburban did a lot to block his view of the Goars,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said Lammey had deep regrets about the Goars’ deaths, and said he wanted to do the volunteer work to help veterans and said Lammey, himself a father, felt “horrific” about the case.

Lammey spoke briefly, appearing by video sitting next to Bartlett.

“I am really very, very deeply sorry. … it’s torn me up a lot inside,” he said. “I’d like to apologize to the Goar family for what I’ve done.”

Both Judge Oths and Roundy said they believed Lammey did feel remorseful. Oths said family members of the Goars had eloquently expressed their emotions in the victim impact statements he read, but said, unfortunately, that was the most that could be done.

“We can let people express their feelings, but we can’t bring people back,” the judge said.

He went along with the plea agreement the attorneys had worked out, and placed Lammey on unsupervised probation for two years.

“You’re probably the last person I need to tell this to, but you just got to be careful, because you know better than any of us what the downside can be,” Oths told Lammey at the end of the video call.

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