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Grandmother’s grief drives push for new drunk driving law

Bentley's Law would require drunk drivers who cause the death of a parent or parents to pay...
Bentley's Law would require drunk 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 turn 18-years old.(WAVE)
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 10:22 PM EST
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MISSOURI (KMOV.com) -- Cecilia Williams is on a mission to get all 50 states to pass a law that uses a new way to hold drunk drivers accountable. She also hopes the proposed new law will be a new deterrent to drinking and driving.

“I really did not want to see another family have to go through what we go through every single day,” Williams said.

Her own personal tragedy is what is motivating her to push for the new law.

Last April her son, Cordell Williams, his fiancé Lacey Newton and their 4-month-old son, Cordell II, were killed in a crash on Highway-30. David Thurby is facing six charges in the case, including three counts of DWI death. He is scheduled for a jury trial in September.

Williams is pushing states to pass a law that would require a drunk driver that kills a parent of young children to pay child support. She named the proposal “Bentley’s Law” after one of the two grandchildren she’s now raising.

On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed its version of Bentley’s Law by a vote of 93-to-0. Williams said it was good to see the success of the bill after dealing with the trauma of her loss for so long.

In Missouri, Rep. Mike Henderson is sponsoring the legislation. It’s called House Bill 1954. He said it’s needed to help grandparents who are often left to raise their grandchildren after a parent dies because of a drunk driver.

“Some of them have to go back to work and try to find the financial means to take care of these kids the way they’d like to. And I think those people who selfishly drove drunk and took these parents away should have some responsibility,” he said.

Currently, bills have been filed in Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Bills are being drafted in Indiana, Michigan, Utah and Texas. Williams said she will continue to contact states to try to get the law passed in all 50.

“It’s an issue nationwide. So, Bentley’s Law should be nationwide,” she said.