“FAILURE,” OR INSPIRATION?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 3, 2019) — Late Tuesday night, The Post & Email learned that the father of Dustin Inman, a young man killed by an illegal-alien driver in June 2000, passed away at his Georgia home at the age of 55 early last month.
Billy Inman was a soft-spoken man who nevertheless was determined to see justice done after Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez slammed into the back of the family vehicle at 60 mph while it observed a red light, instantly killing Dustin and the family dog. Billy and his wife Kathy were so seriously injured that they could not attend their only child’s funeral.
As result of the high-speed collision, Kathy spent five weeks in a coma, was relegated to a wheelchair and suffers from seizures and other medical complications, Billy told us in an interview just over two years ago.
According to local news reports, Billy suffered a heart attack in his sleep, after which Kathy experienced a medical emergency and was hospitalized. The funeral was delayed until Kathy was able to attend the following week, the reports stated.
Well-known advocate for stronger border security and immigration enforcement Mary Ann Mendoza visited Kathy following Billy’s death and has established a fund to help pay to remodel the Inmans’ bathroom to make it accessible for Kathy and for her ongoing care.
Harrell-Gonzalez was apprehended and taken to a hospital but escaped custody and fled to Mexico, Billy told us during our interview. He further expounded, “Our government knows where he’s at today. They say they can’t do anything about it because he’s in Mexico. I found out he has three kids, and I’m pretty sure that two of them came into the world at the expense of American taxpayers. When my son was born, he had a cleft palate. We were young and on our own, paying our own bills; we missed two payments on that totaling $600, and they came after my wife’s wages over that. But we do this for people who aren’t even supposed to be in our country.”
Reporter George Franco of Fox 5, of whom Billy spoke highly during his interview with The Post & Email, posted a video report of a visit he made to the Inmans’ home following the news of Billy’s passing.
In an interview with the Times-Courier in April, Billy was quoted as having said of his wife, “If not for her, I’d probably be in trouble or dead either one. All these years people are telling me to keep doing what I’m doing, and I don’t think it’s made a hill of beans of a difference. I feel like a failure, I truly do.”
In April 2018, Billy and Kathy were invited to the White House to mark the launch of the Trump administration’s VOICE initiative (see second photo in slider). VOICE is an acronym for “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement,” with the program operating under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
A local organization which favors “a secure Georgia,” The Dustin Inman Society was renamed in memory of the Inmans’ son. In an explanatory blog post, The Society quoted Billy as having said he “will not rest until he brings his son’s killer to justice” and that “The system really let me down.”
In its own obituary for Billy, The Society wrote, “Billy Inman was one of the strongest men I have ever known.”