A new perspective on life

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

May 7, 2005 -- a day Cam Hall will probably never forget.

At least he has the ability to remember it as a free man.

Three others are dead, and a fourth is behind bars for as much as 30 years.

"There's not a day goes by that I don't think about it," Hall, taking a break from Blue Bombers training camp, was saying yesterday. "As I sit here and talk about it, the scenario runs pretty freshly through my head."

The scenario was this: after watching a game of semi-pro football just outside Boise, Idaho, Hall, a star college player at Boise State, was driving his black Ford Mustang to his job as a bouncer in a downtown bar.

Exactly what happened as he approached an intersection along state Highway 55 is disputed. Police reports say Hall was racing with a man driving a truck. Hall says he had the cruise control set just above the speed limit.

Moments after passing through the intersection -- swerving to avoid a car, investigators said -- Hall was horrified to see the truck slam into a car carrying a couple and their infant child.

"I was basically somewhat hysterical," Hall recalled. "Usually you only see stuff like that on the really horrific shows on TV. You don't ever actually see it in person. It was something that was extremely tough to handle."

He got on his cellphone and called his fiancee. By the time she calmed him down and he'd turned around, others were at the scene and emergency vehicles were on their way.

So Hall left the scene.

He's been trying to leave the incident behind ever since.

There was talk of a vehicular manslaughter charge, which could lead to serious jail time. Eventually, Hall faced charges of leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving.

What followed was a senior season at Boise State marked by inconsistent play and the protests of those who said he shouldn't be on the team.

"The media didn't necessarily help me out a lot," Hall said. "They just took what was said by people who were investigating it and ran with it. I hate to get too much into it. It's been over two years now. I've been trying, slowly and surely, as it's worked it's way out of my life, to let it go."

Just over a year ago, Hall pled guilty to leaving the scene, while the reckless driving charge was dropped. In the same courtroom, the other man, a repeat drunk driving offender, was slapped with a prison sentence of between 12 and 30 years.

Fast forward to this past winter, when the Bombers heard about Hall through his agent.

And just when the 24-year-old was coming to grips with the fact he was through with football, the phone rang.

On the other end of the line, a second chance.

"There are certain aspects of your life you don't get second chances," Hall said. "It was a part of me that was missing. Because I love to play."

Before he could pursue it, though, Hall had to appear before a judge and get permission to leave Idaho. His sentence had included two years of supervised probation, along with a $2,500 fine and an order to write a paper on being a role model.

ANOTHER JUDGE

The judge gave his OK, and Hall headed for a place he knew little about.

Tomorrow night, in the Bombers pre-season opener against Hamilton, the linebacker appears before another judge, this time one who'll decide his football future.

Funny thing is, in this, the land of the second chance, Hall will likely only get one.

You won't hear him complain, though.

Ever since that May day, two years ago, he's been carrying a new perspective, and not just on football.

"You appreciate every facet of life a little bit more," Hall said. "It shines a little better light on everything."


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