Stiff, unique penalty proposed for drunk drivers who kill parent

Author: CBS News Staff
Published: Updated:
Alleged drunk driver David Thurby, of Fenton, Missouri. KMOV-TV

A woman who lost three loved ones including an infant grandson in a recent accident involving an allegedly drunk driver is pushing Missouri legislators to support a proposed law she’s named after a surviving grandson, CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV reports.

“Bentley’s Law” would require drunk drivers to pay child support when an accident they cause kills a parent or parents.

Cecilia Williams told KMOV, “The main aspect of Bentley’s law is financial responsibility by the offender.”

Williams began working on the legislation after an accident in April in Byrnes Mill, Missouri that that claimed the life of her son, Cordell Williams, his fiancé, Lacey Newton, and their 4-month old son, Cordell Williams II. The car they were in was rear-ended and went off the road and crashed, killing them, authorities said.

David Thurby, of Fenton, Missouri, is charged with three counts of DWI death of another. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and he told a trooper he’d had “seven shots of Crown and water,” according to court documents.

Williams is now raising the couple’s two other children, 3-year old Mason and 5-year old Bentley, whom the legislation is named after.

“Bentley’s Law” would make the drunk drivers pay child support to a surviving spouse or other relatives who are raising the children of victims until the children turn 18.

“They deserve to get that compensation because you’re talking about raising children that their parents are no longer here,” Williams said.

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 says she believes the potential monthly child support payments would make a would-be offender think twice before drinking and driving.

She said a lawmaker in Tennessee has agreed to introduce a “Bentley’s Law” in that state when the legislative session begins next year.

Williams hopes to take her fight against drunk driving nationwide.

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