Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with reporters after a campaign stop at Lindy’s Diner in Keene N.H., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

 

I hesitated to post on this story because it is based on one of the saddest events that life could possibly hand anyone. On December 18, 1972, 30-year-old Sen. Joe Biden received a telephone call notifying him that a car accident had taken the life of his wife and his 13-month-old daughter and seriously injured his two sons.

The issue is that, for years, Biden had repeatedly made the claim that the driver of the truck involved in the accident “drank his lunch” that day. According to the judge assigned to the case, there was no evidence that the driver had been drinking. Further, police determined that Biden’s wife “drove into the path of Dunn’s tractor-trailer, possibly because her head was turned and she didn’t see the oncoming truck.”

POLITICO wrote in January of this year that a friend of Biden’s looked into the accident at the time and concluded, “She had a stop sign. The truck driver did not.”

Now, Biden is being called out for spreading a lie.

In 2001, Biden delivered a speech at the University of Delaware in which he said that the accident had been caused by a drunken driver. “A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly and killed my daughter instantly and hospitalized my two sons …” He also told the story on the campaign trail in 2007. In 2008, Biden’s comments were picked up by the New York Times and were repeated by CBS talk show host Katie Couric and others.

In late August 2008, the producers of “Inside Edition” contacted Newark resident Pamela Hamill, the daughter of the tractor-trailer driver, Curtis Dunn, who had collided with Biden’s wife. Her father had passed away in 1999, so they requested an interview with Hamill, who appeared on the show in September. Hamill wanted to set the record straight.

She also campaigned for a “public apology from [then] vice presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), whom she says has repeatedly besmirched her late father.” I was not able to find evidence that she ever received an apology although I did read of an instance of Biden telling the story in 2009.

In October of 2008, the Newark Post ran a story to help her set the record straight. They reported:

According to Delaware Superior Court Judge Jerome O. Herlihy, who oversaw the police investigation 36 years ago as chief prosecutor, there is no evidence supporting Biden’s claim.

“The rumor about alcohol being involved by either party, especially the truck driver (Dunn), is incorrect,” Herlihy said recently.

Police determined that Biden’s first wife drove into the path of Dunn’s tractor-trailer, possibly because her head was turned and she didn’t see the oncoming truck.

Dunn, who overturned his rig while swerving to avoid a collision, ran to the wrecked car and was the first to render assistance.

Police filed no charges against Dunn, who at that time lived in North East, Md. with his wife, Ruby, and their seven children.

Dunn was haunted by the accident until the day he died, Hamill told the newspaper. “Growing up, my dad never talked about it. He always got very solemn around Christmastime because the anniversary was Dec. 18, and he never wanted to celebrate the holidays. When newspapers had anniversary articles (about the crash), we hid them from dad.”

She also said she wants to “clear her late father’s name before Biden’s story is even more widely accepted as fact. Suppose he becomes the next vice president. Movies could be made about him and books could be written about him, all falsely portraying my father as a drunk driver. We need to set the record straight and clear my father’s name right now before this goes any further.”

Biden’s mischaracterization of this accident doesn’t surprise me. It’s part of a pattern of behavior that we’ve come to associate with Biden. He has a history of embellishing events which have occurred and occasionally inventing entire stories out of whole cloth if it serves his purpose. Put another way, this man’s word is not to be trusted.

We all remember when he was forced to withdraw from the 1988 Democratic presidential primary after it was discovered that he had presented a powerful speech delivered by British politician Neil Kinnock only four months earlier.

Neil Kinnock at Welsh Labour Party conference May 1987:

Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what we had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand.

Joe Biden in Sept 1987 during his first presidential campaign:

Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife… is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? …Is it because they didn’t work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It’s because they didn’t have a platform on which to stand.

A more recent example of Biden’s propensity to embellish was his story about facing down local thug “Corn Pop” in 1962 armed only with a six foot chain. Corn Pop was accompanied by three of his goons, each of whom carried a razor blade. If any of you missed that entertaining tale, my colleague Streiff wrote a very amusing post about it, entitled “Did Joe Biden Really Face Down Feared Northeast Wilmington Thug ‘Corn Pop’ And Win The Respect Of A City.”

For so many reasons, Biden should have sat this election out. His time, if he ever really had one, has past.