Bill Cracks Down on Deadly DUI Offenders

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new bill in the Senate aims to crack down on deadly DUI offenders by making it easier for prosecutors to convict them.

Senator Corey Palumbo (D- Kanawha) introduced it this week in hopes to help victims' families find closure.

"It helps them properly with the grieving process to secure a conviction for the one who caused it," Palumbo said.

The bill would take away several loopholes in language that make it harder to convict, including a phrase that makes prosecutors prove drunk drivers acted in reckless disregard for others' safety.

"Those additional steps were preventing convictions from being secured," Palumbo said.

Deana Spaulding lost her 14-year-old daughter, Andrea Bailes, to a drunk driver in Huntington a little more than a year ago.

Since then, she's made it her mission to lobby for stricter DUI laws and hopes to see the new bill pass.

"No one should deal with the loss of a loved one just because someone else made wrong decisions," she said. "The law needs to protect innocent people."

The drunk driver who killed her daughter also was killed at the accident, but Spaulding wants to see the bill passed on behalf of other families.

"I think they would feel a little bit of peace knowing that they're behind bars and can't hurt someone else," she said.

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