Perhaps David McCarthy ran over his own heart when he allegedly hit and killed 20-year-old Melissa Lech with his car nearly four years ago. Maybe he was truly sorry, and maybe not. Four years later, however, the 27-year-old Naperville resident seems to be remorseful.
McCarthy showed up at the victim’s sister’s house in Plainfield on February 26, apparently to confess to the crime, as The Chicago Tribune reported.
For four years, Michelle Lech has desperately sought information about her sister’s death. Years slipped by with no leads on the death of the University of Illinois at Champaign co-ed, struck down after a White Sox game.
Last fall, hoping to help, Kevin Conway even plastered a poster of Melissa on his racecar for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Joliet’s Chicagoland Speedway.
“I just hope that maybe … someone who saw something will look deeply into their heart [sic] and think it’s time to solve that mystery,” Maria Lech told The Trib in September, seeking closure. The grieving mother recounted how she has lit candles nearly nightly near the spot where Melissa’s body was discovered.
During his February 26 visit with Michelle Lech, McCarthy supposedly outlined what happened on the dreadful night of August 7, 2008. He said he called 911 for help before leaving the scene. He told the whole story. But, according to the grieving sister, who also said she sent her husband outside to jot down McCarthy’s license tag number, he never said he was sorry for what happened.
Shortly afterwards, Naperville police officers arrested McCarthy at his home. Facing $1 million bail, he was charged in Will County with leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Courteous and considerate onlookers are left to wonder whether McCarthy’s long-awaited confession was a genuine gesture of conscience or merely a revalidation of the Lech family’s worst nightmare come true.
When is an apology not actually an apology?
McCarthy’s action and Lech’s reaction beg these questions. Does an apology count, if the apologizer does not act apologetically? Must certain phrases be said to make an apology authentic? And is there a statute of limitations on apologies?
What ways can apologizers say they are truly sorry?
Perhaps McCarthy ought to have tried any of these simple sentences.
- “I apologize.”
- “I beg your forgiveness.”
- “I deeply regret what happened.”
- “I have no excuses.”
- “I was wrong.”
- “I’m sorry.”
- “My actions were inexcusable, and I hope you will forgive me.”
- “Please accept my sincere apology.”
- “Please forgive me.”
Without a doubt, he would have upped his chances of receiving a more receptive response, if he had stopped at the scene of the accident and then followed up with his victim’s family a whole lot sooner than he did.
Will Lech forgive McCarthy for her sister’s death? Will McCarthy forgive himself? Even etiquette cannot read the hearts of those who have been wronged or done wrong.
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