BOISE — 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.
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. 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, with the Ada County Highway District 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.
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,” Roundy said.
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 himself spoke briefly, and he appeared emotional as he did, 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 Oths and Roundy said they believed Lammey did feel remorseful. He said he felt 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,” he 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 you've? 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.