By Lara Becker
Two years ago today, Michael T. Sot, a Phi Kappa Psi brother and resident of Clark, New Jersey, was hit in a head-on collision by alleged intoxicated driver David Lamar.
As the designated driver, Sot died from the crash on Dec. 4, 2018, while others in the car were left in critical condition and later recovered.
Since then, Lamar has been indicted for aggravated manslaughter, death by auto as well as six counts of assault by auto charges on June 26, 2019, as reported by The Trentonian.
Yet, he still walks free.
After being released from house arrest and GPS monitoring this past summer, Lamar’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss all charges. Sot’s mother, Candice Buno-Sot, believes that this is a tactic to delay jail time for as long as possible.
“If George Floyd’s killers are out, then I guess he can be too. That’s my rationalization for it anyway,” Buno-Sot said. “We just feel like the evidence is there — we’re just all frustrated because we all know that there’s so much that is on our side, as far as ‘let’s just get this over with.’”
Yesterday in virtual court, Superior Court Judge Timothy Lydon denied the motion to dismiss Lamar’s charges, thus taking the trial into further court hearings. The next court date is expected to take place in May of 2021.
Buno-Sot feels relieved at the news but also exasperated that the process is still ongoing. There have been several delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and although she is assured by the prosecutor, Michael Grillo, that the case is still on track, decisions are yet to be made.
After virtual court, Buno-Sot met with other victims of the crash on a Zoom call.
“Especially on a day like today, the two-year anniversary of the accident, we’re just grateful that there seems to be a legacy to Michael, and it’s a good feeling,” Buno-Sot said.
After peers saw Lamar not yet in jail, Vin Crisafi, one of Michael’s childhood friends, started a petition in August to the Mercer County Court. The petition now stands at over 5,000 signatures with pooled support from the College and beyond.
“Michael was very, very happy at TCNJ. He formulated friendships and developed relationships that were making him such a wonderful young man,” Buno-Sot said. “As his mom, it was just such a wonderful thing to watch.”
She said that Sot’s fraternity brothers have maintained contact with her both personally and through social media to keep his memory alive.
“I do feel like Michael hasn’t been forgotten,” Buno-Sot said. “Michael was just such a good kid; always such a good kid, always helpful, always supportive, always kind and compassionate. It’s nice to see that the community has given that back to me.”