Cairo man killed in motorcycle accident -- and then pilloried in newspaper

A motorcycle rider was killed when he drove through a red light and collided with a pickup truck on Route 23 in Cairo early Wednesday evening, police say.

According to a statement from the New York State Police, 56-year-old Donald Parkinson of Cairo was riding eastbound on Route 23 on a Harley-Davidson around 5:50pm, when he failed to yield to a red light at the intersection of County Route 85 and was struck by a pickup truck entering the intersection.

Parkinson was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver, 43-year-old Richard Vogel of Cairo, was not injured in the accident.

In a news article about the accident, the Catskill Daily Mail published several paragraphs about Parkinson's criminal history -- and promptly got a deluge of outraged comments from readers for including it. A few samples, left on the Daily Mail's website:

What does Mr.Parkinson's criminal history have to do with this FATAL ACCIDENT!? Does the fact he was a criminal, make his death easier for the public to handle? The charges have nothing to do with the accident!

I didn't know Donald Parkinson, but what exactly are you trying to say by brining up his arrest history? It's totally irrelevant and hurtful. Condolences to his friends and family and shame on Register Star/Daily Mail.

A mans life ended and who is to stay how he lived it after his past mistakes. It is horrible to include all this negativity about his past in this tragic story. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. For even if he were a troubled soul with a troubled past Im sure their were people who loved him. This is not news, this is speaking ill of the dead, a man not here to defend himself any longer. You should think long and hard in the future before painting such an ill picture of the deceased. Shame on you.

Update: On Thursday evening, the paper deleted the section about Parkinson's criminal history from the story, and included an editor's note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The last few paragraphs of this story should not have been included and have been removed. What we reported, while factual and a matter of public record, was not relevant to his death. The events of Wednesday night were in no way connected to events that occurred in 1997. We strive to include background information to provide context to the events that we report on, but in this case, one event had nothing to do with the other. We apologize to our readers but especially to Parkinson's loved ones and friends as they grieve the loss of the man they knew. — Executive Editor Theresa E. Hyland