Madelynn Rizzo's story is over at 9. She'll never realize dreams, dance at her wedding or have children of her own. She died in a car crash three days after Thanksgiving in Mount Laurel. Worse, police say it was her own father's drinking and driving that killed her.

Marcelo Rizzo was weaving in and out of traffic and struck a car before going off the shoulder of 295 North and crashing into trees, according to witnesses. His 9-year-old daughter was thrown from the car and her body was found in the woods. Rizzo and his other daughter survived the impact with minor injuries.

What happens in a heartbreaking case like this? The same as what would happen in any case. He was arrested and charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, second-degree child endangerment and third-degree assault by auto. A guilty verdict will bring about years in prison.

I wonder in cases like these if there's anything the court can do that truly makes sense. Being the cause of your own child's death is a psychological life sentence. I can't imagine anyone who is a normal parent and loved their child could ever come back from that. Anything the courts can do seems to be window dressing and going through the motions. If incarceration along with suspension and fines and everything else is intended in part to send a message so others stop and think, I can't imagine a stronger deterrent than thinking about how a man just caused the death of his own little girl. If that doesn't get you to not drink and drive, all the punishment doled out by a court won't mean anything.

I'm not suggesting Rizzo be let off the hook. He needs to be dealt with legally the same as if it were my daughter he killed. All I'm offering is that long after he gets out of prison, psychologically he'll never be a free man.

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