Drunken drivers would pay child support if parent is killed in crash under proposed Missouri law
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV/Gray News) - Cecilia Williams is turning her anger into action and is pushing Missouri legislators to support a proposed new law that she’s named “Bentley’s Law,” after her 5-year old grandson.
“The main aspect of ‘Bentley’s Law’ is financial responsibility by the offender,” she said.
Williams began working on the new legislation after three of her family members were killed in a car crash involving a drunken driver in April, KMOV reported.
Her son, Cordell Williams, his fiancé Lacey Newton and their 4-month old son, Cordell Williams II, were killed when the car they were in was rear-ended, went off the road and crashed.
David Thurby of Fenton is charged with three counts of DWI death of another in connection with the crash. Authorities said his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and according to court documents, he told a trooper he’d had “seven shots of Crown and water.”
Williams is now raising the couple’s two other children, 3-year old Mason and 5-year old Bentley.
The legislation she’s been working on would require drunken drivers who cause the death of a parent or parents to pay child support to a surviving spouse or the relatives raising the victim’s children until the children turns 18.
“They deserve to get that compensation because you’re talking about raising children that their parents are no longer here,” said Williams.
Missouri State Representative Mike Henderson of Bonne Terre plans to introduce “Bentley’s Law” during the next legislative session.
“I do firmly believe that these people who are driving drunk and take away the parents of these children, there’s got to be some help for these children. It comes down to that,” he said.
Williams said she believes the monthly child support payments would make an offender think twice before drinking and driving again.
She said a state lawmaker in Tennessee has agreed to introduce a “Bentley’s Law” in that state when the legislative session begins next year. Williams said she hopes to take her fight against drunken driving nationwide.
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