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Megan Madeline Thomas: Murdered By Jacob J. Herbert of Susquehanna Pennsylvania Being Paroled

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Megan's Story permission Given by Ed Lindsey


March 17,2006 Megan Madeline Thomas and her family were turning into New Milford Baptist Church in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Jacob Herbert missed another family seconds before slamming into Megan's grandmother's mini-van! Megan's grandmother was knocked unconscious, her 84 year-old mother was standing outside the vehicle once it came to an abrupt stop. Screaming from the top of her lungs, while one of their two grandsons was being cradled in his great-grandmother's arms. Madeline was nowhere to be found. Megan's grandmother awoke moments later and could not get out of her driver door. Crawling across the driver's seat to the passenger seat she felt blood rolling down her forehead. Where was Megan? Scurrying around the vehicle she found Megan under their family mini-van, conscious but alert. Megan's was more concerned about wetting her pants than about what happened. Looking up they noticed, Jacob J. Herbert standing their for a brief moment staring at them. Quickly he jumped back into his vehicle and sped-off, leaving the entire family for dead. He was found the next morning with his blood alcohol content still pass the legal limit for the state of Pennsylvania. How could a person do this to a family?

Jacob J. Herbert was incarcerated and now has served only 5 years for the death of Megan Madeline Thomas. He will be released within 60 days for the murder of a 5-year old. The family has written to the parole board, attorney's have begged for him not to be released. The state says, they are to over-crowded and they have to let him go. Why? He left the scene of an accident and murdered someone's daughter, granddaughter, niece and friend. He was only given one year for each year that Megan was alive. What is wrong with our judicial system? Jacob Herbert will be walking-free within 60 days for a crime he committed. He has not had any remorse for what he did on March 17,2006; nor has he made any contact with the family to apologize for his wrong doing.

Ed Lindsey shared a letter with me, that he submitted to the parole board and the families voice has been left unheard. He has spent countless hours and submitted thousands of letters all across the United States including Congress and President Obama. To date, nobody has listened. With alcohol being a multi-billion dollar industry nobody seems to care. Many of you have children, grandchildren and family members. If this article pulls at your heartstrings please share this story with everyone you know. If we could cover every corner of Facebook or stop one person from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and driving, we could begin to change the laws. What would you do, if the last words your grandchild said to you were, " Grammy I can't breathe!?" Those words haunt Megan Madeline Thomas's grandmother until this day.


A Letter submitted to the Parole Board by Ed Lindsey

Re: Jacob J. Herbert

Inmate # : GW7847

To The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: I have read your pre-release letter on the subject Jacob J. Herbert. First I would like to go into the details of this inmate. Mr. Herbert was drunk and driving on a secondary road in Susquehanna County. He just got thrown out of a bar in Lenox, Penna. a V.F.W.. He had a friend with him at that time, but for whatever reason his friend did not want to go with Mr. Herbert to another bar that Mr. Herbert wanted to visit and so the friend was dropped off at his home by Mr. Herbert. Mr. Herbert then proceeded on this secondary road to the next bar. Mr. Herbert passed another vehicle on this road at a great rate of speed, and the man that he passed had his children in with him, and he was taking them to South New Milford Baptist Church for an A.W.A.N.A. program. The man that Mr. Herbert passed pulled over to collect his thoughts because it was a close call. Mr. Herbert then at a great rate of speed slammed into the rear of the van that was beginning to turn into our churches driveway. In the van was my wife and she was driving, her mother whom was 84 years of age, 1 of my two grand-sons, and my only grand-daughter Megan Madeline Thomas. My wife was knocked unconscious and had a gaping wound in her head and it was freely bleeding. Her mother stood outside the van screaming holding my grand-son. She thought my wife was dead and she could not find her great grand-daughter Megan. My wife regained consciousness, and she could not open the driver’s side door to get out so she crawled across to go out the passenger side door. My wife found our grand-daughter underneath the van. She was alive and conscious and was speaking to my wife, as my wife held her in her arms on the bank waiting for help. Mr. Herbert got out of his vehicle after hitting them, and looked around at all that he created and jumped back in to his vehicle and sped off. Leaving them all for someone else’s problem. Megan did not have a bruise or a scratch on her face, her one leg though was badly mangled. Megan was more worried about soiling her pants, and told my wife that she was afraid that she went to the bathroom in them, because she was wet. The other grand-father who is Pastor Larry Thomas of South New Milford Baptist Church was notified and ran down the driveway. Megan spoke to him but he could not comprehend of what she was saying. The emergency crew arrived and Megan spoke her last words to my wife, before being taken away to an awaiting helicopter. “Grammy I Can Not Breathe.” Megan died in route to the hospital. Mr. Herbert was found the next morning after abandoning his vehicle because it was damaged too much to drive anymore. He was still over the legal limit of .08 and it now had been 8 to 9 hours after he struck the van. He was taken to get tests and went in front of a magistrate. The magistrate set his bond at $100,000.00 and sent him to jail to await sentencing.

Emotional Impact? How would I explain this to you, if you did not lose someone close to you. Let me start off by saying that my wife still can hear Megan’s last words to her of “ Grammy I Can Not Breathe.” How would you actually feel being in a hospital watching your wife being shattered as she is told that her grand-daughter is dead. How would you feel after getting rid of your wife’s pants because she asked you to, and then putting them into an orange containment bag because they were blood soaked? How would you feel standing over a sink, to wash your hands, watching your only grand-daughter’s blood going down the drain? How would you feel knowing this man was not captured yet? I retired to be with my 3 grand-children and to watch them grow, but now one of them is missing. On closing of Emotional Impact I would like to say this. Mr. Herbert made bail about 2 to 3 weeks after Megan’s homicide. The justice system told Marcy my daughter Megan’s mom that Mr. Herbert was driving without a license and he had no insurance on any vehicle and the vehicle that he was driving was a deceased member of his family. Pastor Thomas and I went to the courthouse in September or October to listen to his guilty pleas in front of the judge. Pastor and I listened to the judge and Mr. Herbert apparently did have a driver’s license but it was a O.L.L. license (Occupational Limited License) he received this license after applying for it in December 2005. Three months before he decided to get drunk and take a life. Mr. Herbert was released and his sentencing was for December 2006. My niece called me one night right after we went to hear Mr. Herbert’s plea of guilty. She left her message on my answering machine. She stopped at a diner on her way to work for a coffee. Mr. Herbert was there and he was quite obviously drunk and bragging that he just came from the North Forty apparently another bar. She called the police and waited for them to show. No one showed. I e-mailed the District Attorney because it was late at night and the response I got was this. All the police were out that night to a homicide and the first 24 hours are crucial on a homicide. Mr. Herbert when he initially went in front of the magistrate after being arrested was not told not to get drunk again, or to drink before his sentencing. The magistrate or the police did not inform the Department of Transportation that Mr. Herbert just took a life and he had on his possession the O.L.L. license so the license could be taken. The District Attorney did not have to do this but he contacted the State Police investigator to check on if he was drinking at the bar or not. Because his family told their attorney that Mr. Herbert was at home and did not go anywhere. The investigator went to the bar and found out that Mr. Herbert was at their bar drinking at the night in question. No one could verify to the investigator on how Mr. Herbert arrived to the bar called North Forty or if he was driving or not? After finding this out it was a concern of the court to move Mr. Herbert’s sentencing up to November 2006.

Physical Impact: My mother-in-law who was inside the van had whip lash. My wife had to have 8 or 9 staples placed in her head from the gaping wound and underwent counseling and yes she still has that scar on the top of her head.

Financial Impact? My wife had on jewelry at the hospital a necklace a bear with a diamond in it. Diamond ear rings. She thinks that they may have been on the hospital gown that was thrown out. These items we are not worried about. They were given to her by me on the arrival of my grand-sons births and no amount of money could replace what was taken away by Mr. Herbert.

Safety Issues? While your Psychologist’s tell you that Mr. Herbert is ready to immerge into our society because he has been a good man in jail. I ‘am afraid they are proven wrong. Mr. Herbert has not shown any remorse over what he has done. Not one word of an apology to any of our family members or to the court on his sentencing. And still no word from Mr. Herbert. You state in your letter that he may on request take a leave of absence of up to 7 days with family. My, what a wrong thing if this would happen, not only to his family, but other unsuspecting victim’s. My final thought is this on Drunk Driving. This is the only crime of homicide and murder that we hand them the weapon back ( The Car) with no questions asked. Attached is another letter that I sent to all of our Senator’s in Pennsylvania and I would like you to read it.

Megan's Story permission given by Ed Lindsey

Ed Lindsay will not stop until Megan's voice is heard. With Megan's parents and grandparents' together we can assist them with accomplishing their mission. Will you join us by sharing this with your Congressman? News Station? Facebook friends? Share his heart breaking story and take a stand tell our Country " Enough is Enough!" If we can chat for minutes on social sites, we can have Megan's voice heard.

Office of the Victim Advocate

1101 S. Front Street Suite 5200

Harrisburg, Pa. 17104

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1-800-563-6399 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1-800-563-6399end_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1-800-563-6399

Take a moment to contact them and tell them inmate # GW7847 Jacob J. Herbert should not be released! If there phones are flooded, it could spare another family pain and suffering and keep him off the roads. I am doing my part, can you do yours?


charles on March 01, 2019:

As Horrible as this was, It was an accident caused by thoughtless driving after drinking, Only God may or can be the judge of such actions and he will do so with or without your consent. What ever he decides will always be the right solution. If you believe in Him, then trust that He will solve this problem for your, I have sent up a prayer for you.

.? on October 13, 2018:

Great article, however I do notice some crucial grammatical errors.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on March 14, 2017:

Well he is out on Parole. Living while a live has been lost.

Boomer Music Man on August 22, 2016:

This really hurts. She was just a kid. There should be no parole for this jerk.

Ed on March 05, 2016:

God did not say that this life would be easy. As he took my friend, brother-in-law and his wife last Sept. while riding his motorcycle home from a funeral in New York State. My mother - in - law also passed away a week later. Did you know you are not worth much if killed in New York State and retired

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 15, 2014:

Justice does need to be served and this child's life she not be in vane. I will update accordingly.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on June 14, 2014:

Hi AEvans, you covered this story very well and thoroughly. Let's hope that justice will continue to be served. Hopefully money didn't kick in somewhere to get this guy out too soon. No remorse or apology? Something's wrong here. Keep us posted on this. Thanks for sharing...

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on February 02, 2013:

Melissa, what you stated at the very end makes absolute sense. But the laws need to more strict when it comes to drinking and driving.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on February 02, 2013:

mk: It is very sad and the family has to deal with the loss everyday. Their faith is what keeps them going; but as I write this someone, somewhere is losing another person. Right here, right now at this very moment.

Melissa on January 27, 2013:

I am unsure if u get life in prison for driving drunk? He committed vehicular manslaughter. So unless there gonna change the laws for drunk driving . To which they have changed with ignition interlock devices , changing it to a misdeamenor to a felony. So it's great that he is advocating for his family they are not going to make an exception to his sentencing . Also I don't know what the grief would be like if I lost a loved one to drunk driving . However I also would want everyone to move on in their life. So the goal for criminals also should be to integrate them back Into the community . We do this with the mentally ill and devlopmentally disabled . If I had someone who was killed I don't know what anger and resentment I would feel but at some point I think keeping them in prison wouldn't bring me satisfaction . We know that this driver will be put through the wringer and will essentially not have a life you or I can attain. I think even though he's getting out the family can live knowing he will be living in his own version of prison only not behind bars

mk on January 26, 2013:

I don't think not having a license would stop him, but is truly sad he is even eligible for one! Just from some personal knowledge I foresee him not being able to make good decisions in terms of drinking. Words can't express how terrible I feel for the loss of that little angel. My love to the family.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on January 16, 2013:

Dianna ours: I am so sorry to hear about your loss, laws truly have to change and this man is out walking right today While the family still deals with their loss.

dianna ours on January 10, 2013:

my heart goes out to the little girl family my heart hurts for them, my 14year old son was killed 2years ago he was hit head on in a car reck by a drug driver, the only thing the 21 year old kid got was 45 days in jail 1 to 3 years probation and a 5000.fine because according to usa laws theres no law in driving under the influnce of drugs because drs can't prove how messed up u half to be on drugs to drive a car, but if ur on pills that dr give u or alcohol u can go to jail for 1 to 20 years, the guy who hit my son was on herion, weed, pain pills . i hope the sob who killed that little girl pays in prison

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on September 18, 2012:

jessefutch: I think about it daily and she the families story with whomever I speak with. The family is amazing and so blessed! The warm and cordial; but sadly that man is now out of prison and he should have honestly spent longer behind bars. Thanks for the kudos! This is all for Megan :)

jessefutch from North Carolina on September 16, 2012:

I'm glad God called on you to do this. Keep following God's lead and I believe some good will come out of this. I'll pray on this as well. Keep up the amazing work.

Douglas White on July 08, 2012:

My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to this family. I am a father who lost his only biological child to illness. Caitlyn was 15 months old and died in the PICU while I held her hand begging for her to stay. I was not meant to be. It is difficult for people who not experienced something like this to understand the magnitude of the devastation and the void that you are left with forever. The guilt, the pain, the what-if's. People can call this whatever they want and justify their answers until their hearts are content. The IS murder, all based on bad choices made by J. Herbert. Too me, a disgusting excuse for a human being. Accidents do happen, but the most appalling part to me is when he got out, saw what he did and then left like the coward that he is. He can try to hide behind the bottle all that he wants. This man should not enjoy freedom or life as he choose to take away another life by making the choices that he did. God Bless Meagan and her family. Your angel will always be with you and you will be reunited in a far better place.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on July 04, 2012:

Ardie: It is so sad. Those words, " Grammy I can't breathe!" remind me of what should not happen in our Country. Jacob Herbert has not asked for forgiveness; nor apologized for taking Megan's life. Thank you so much for reading it and also being a voice for Megan. :)

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on July 04, 2012:

sonison: It is a very sad story. Today is the 4th of July and all of us know what some will be doing today. Sadly someone else will lose their life at the hand of a person who believes they are capable of drinking and driving. Every time I see her little face, it gives me the strength to keep on writing about her.

Sondra from Neverland on July 04, 2012:

Oh :( my heart is broken for the family. I had a difficult time reading your Hub because my eyes were all teary and I kept thinking "what if it had been my family, my kids?" I have sent letters to parole boards before and I have no problem making more calls or sending more letters. This has GOT to stop...bless the poor baby and her family

sonison from Heaven 7 on July 04, 2012:

This is a very sad story but you have shown enough courage to present to the HP community. I will try to circulate to all my knowns and acquaintance.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 28, 2012:

lord de cross: It is disheartening. He is getting back his license when it gets out. My gut tells me he is going to get into trouble again and the first thing he is going to do, is go to the bar. If he has repented than when he comes out he will give a news conference WITH a formal apology to the family who lost Megan. He will never ever drink again and he will be an advocate. We can only pray that will happen; but highly unlikely. :(

Joseph De Cross from New York on June 28, 2012:

Just replace stop for "an eye for an eye feeling"

and Hopes for "eyeballs"

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 28, 2012:

LaThing: Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. I agree its also murder and when someone says its manslaughter, I say wrong! Megan had so much more to live for and this man Jacob Herbert should not be getting out of jail. They are giving back his keys, once he is released! How can they do that? He should not get a license to drive! Thank you for sharing with all that you know.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 28, 2012:

EuroNinilia: It is sad. I see her picture everyday and many of us could not imagine how her family feels everyday. God has called her home; but she will not be forgotten so long as everyone keeps this alive. Sharing is a beautiful gift and Megan's voice will signify to the World that this has to stop. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 28, 2012:

Rolly A. Chabot: She surely is a very strong voice and I will not stop until she is completely acknowledged. :)

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 28, 2012:

lord de cross: I do know what you mean and it is sad that this little girl lost her life, due to this man! He is supposed to be paroled within 60 days and guess what? They are giving back his license as soon as he releases! Ugh!

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on June 28, 2012:

Our system is unfair! If a person knowingly gets drunk and then decides to drive then he has taken that license to kill. It is not manslaughter at this stage, it is murder, Josak! It is like saying, 'I will take my AK 47 down the street and shot randomly, and if someone gets hit it's not my fault!'.... Manslaughter, or murder?!

Herbert should get life, or al least the number of years Megan could have lived, say 80 years!

We all have children, and we all fear this foolishness that some take it so lightly. If justice is not served here then this crime will not stop.

Thanks Julianna for this article..... This will be passed around, and it will take effect!

Fotinoula Gypsyy from NYC BABY on June 27, 2012:

I am definitely sharing this story, what a horrible horrible tragedy that happened to this poor girl and her family. It breaks my heart to even look at Megan's picture, so precious I tear up right away! I will pass this along to as many as I can!

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on June 27, 2012:

Sad and thank you Julianna for giving Megan a strong voice to be heard again about this great injustice...

Joseph De Cross from New York on June 27, 2012:

Devastated to say the least! Mad at the System and mad at these killers! They are out there as we write. I will share this story, since My kids were raised near that County. I would put a _stop (anytime).... on his hopes! You know what I mean!


Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 26, 2012:

ledefensetech: Although unpopular I have to agree. Every time I see Megan's face and hear those words " Grammy I can't breathe!" which were her last words to her grandmother, it breaks my heart. Jacob Herbert has not even apologized as you have read and he is set to be released within 60 days. Sadly he also has a daughter, I wonder what his own family thinks about what he has done? :(

ledefensetech from Cape Girardeau, MO on June 26, 2012:

I going to go for the unpopular view but if you drink, drive and kill someone, it's only fair that your life be taken in return. The way things are set up now, most drunk drivers get away with it. There's no way any police force can patrol and get everyone who drinks and drives off the road. It cannot be done. Plus with judges who use subjective reasoning when sentencing people, you'll not get any kind of consistency when dealing with this sort of thing.

Let's face it, a drunk driver is like a game of Russian Roulette. If someone engages in risk taking behavior that puts innocents at risk, it only makes sense to put their lives at risk also.

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 22, 2012:

mours sshields: Thank you so much. See her big blue eyes and smile is a heart breaker. Each day I pray for her family, she was gone to soon. Thank you so much for sharing Megan's voice.

mours sshields from Elwood, Indiana on June 22, 2012:

How sad and tragic!! What an outrage! Yes, I will share this with others!

Marcia Ours

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 22, 2012:

Rolly A Chabot: Thank you for taking the time to read about Megan and what her grandfather and family have been diligently working at. Strong Christians with so much faith; but the loss of Megan has broken their hearts. God has placed me on a mission with them and Megan's voice thanks to so many will be heard from sea to shining sea. Thank you for passing this along and sharing with others. I know you are committed and stand strong in the word, God will prevail.

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on June 22, 2012:

Hi AEvans... what a shame when you think of the impact such a stupid and senseless action can take of the immediate family and yes all of us who have read this.

Meagan's is being heard through the many who will read this and pass it along. Lets all stay true to the calling for justice to be done i this and the many cases we hear about.

Thank you for sharing this Julianna and know that our prayers are for this family and the many who have suffered.

Hugs from Canada

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 22, 2012:

R2R: It is a very hard. The family is still suffering today because of Jacob J. Herbert. Sadly is has not shown an remorse for what happened on March 17,2006.

R2R from Los Angeles, California on June 22, 2012:

Jesus! This was ... painful to read, I can't imagine what the family went through :(

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 21, 2012:

Deborah Brooks: It is so very sad.:( Such a beautiful little girl who was lost so tragically. We do need to get someone to listen and help. She is so precious and I am angry because people do this everyday! If people drink, they should stay off the roads. :( Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone.

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on June 21, 2012:

this is so sad and it makes me mad.. it happens all the time...I am sharing with the world. and I tweeted and pinned.. maybe we can get someone to listen and help.. God Help the family..


Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 21, 2012:

fpherj48: I am also so sorry to hear about your loss.:( People everyday lose their lives to another person's reckless actions. Every time I see Megan's face or listen to the video, it tugs at my heartstrings. Thank you so much for sharing this article with many. (((Hugs))) :)

Suzie from Carson City on June 21, 2012:

AEvans......I relate to this horror story more closely than you can imagine........I lost a 22 month old grandson due to drunken and reckless action. My heart weighs heavy for this famiy. The sorrow of losing a child is by far, the most powerful and constant ache a human can suffer. Please know I will spread this hub by sharing with hundreds of my email community. You have done a very loving and thoughtful favor for this family. Peace and blessings....UP+++

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 21, 2012:

Angela Blair: The laws are not enforced. For those of us who have lost someone to drunk driving we see it as murder. A vehicle is like a loaded weapon. For those who have not experienced the pain and suffering they will see it as manslaughter. Jacob Herbert knew he should not get behind the wheel and drive. He made the choice and therefore should be severely punished for what he has done. He will again drink and sadly someone else's family will be ravished by his actions. :(

Angela Blair from Central Texas on June 21, 2012:

AEvans -- this whole subject cuts deeply to the core of where this country has gone today. Our laws aren't enforced, the incarcerated are treated like honored guests and decent citizens continue to pay the price whether with their time, their money or their lives or the lives of their children. When this man is released he will drive again -- and undoubtedly drink - -- a loaded cannon to say the least. Excellent Hub and outstanding cause. Best/Sis

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 21, 2012:

Victoria Lynn: When I received the e-mail from Ed over a week ago, I knew that God put it on my heart to do something. She is a beautiful little girl that had so much more in life. It was snuffed out by a man who has no remorse for what he did. He has not even apologized, nor sent a letter of forgiveness. Nothing, absolutely nothing. :(

Julianna (author) from SomeWhere Out There on June 21, 2012:

Josak: He hasn't apologized for anything, not even in court. Child slaughter it is; but to the family he murdered their only granddaughter. It's quite sad that he committed this crime. He was supposed to be out in 4.8 years so he was not a pillage to the system. The judge only ordered behind bars for 4.8 years which is unacceptable. What is wrong with the system? My gut tells me he will get out and harm someone again. :(

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 21, 2012:

OMG, AE. This was so hard to read. I could hardly get through the grandfather's letter. This is so awful, and it happens too much. I don't know what else to say but thank for sharing it. My heart hurts. I'm sharing this for sure.

Josak from variable on June 21, 2012:

I agree the guy should serve more time and should certainly never be applicable for another divers license but this is not in any way murder, it's manslaughter, it was accidental but due to great stupidity and negligence on his part. Obviously the guy has a drinking problem,having said that it's really not fair to label him a murderer when he is not and at some point revenge for the family needs to be balanced against the good of society and the individual (I agree this is early but apparently he was a model prisoner and overpopulation is an issue in prisons) I guarantee that five years in prison for idiocy committed while dunk is not as easy as you seem tot think it is. Hopefully the guy will apologize and attempt to repay the family and society at large for his idiocy.

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