The news reported this week that a street race ended in a crash killing two innocent people. It rekindled a memory of a family that attended a church I was the pastor of in Encinitas back in the 70’s.
The Murakami family had moved from Hawaii to Encinitas. After several years, they moved to Florida where Bruce became a successful contractor. In 1998, Cindy and their daughter Chelsea were killed when their mini-van was struck by car racing at over 90 miles an hour. At first the incident was treated as an accident. But after years of investigation, the young driver was arrested and could have received a sentence of 30 years.
What makes this story unique is that at the sentencing, Bruce shocked the Judge, and those in the courtroom, by asking that the young man, guilty of killing his wife and daughter, not be sentenced to prison, but instead do community service with him. They began going to schools and sharing the dangers of reckless driving to over 500,000 students. His faith in Christ turned his bitterness to forgiveness. The full story is chronicled in the Hallmark movie “Crossroads. A story of Forgiveness.”