Proposed Law Would Make Drunk Drivers Pay Child Support If Parent Is Killed
By MH Nov 5, 2021
A grandmother is fed up after her son, his fiance, and their 5-month-old son were killed in a car accident allegedly caused by a drunk driver.
Cecilia Williams has proposed “Bentley’s Law,” which if passed, would make drunk drivers responsible for child support if a parent is killed in the state of Missouri.
30-year-old Cordell Williams, 25-year-old Lacey Newton and 4-month-old Cordell Williams II all died after 26-year-old David Thorby reportedly rear-ended Williams’ car, sending it off the road and into multiple trees. Their vehicle then caught on fire, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports.
“The main aspect of Bentley’s Law is financial responsibility by the offender,” she said.
Williams started working on the legislation targeting drunk drivers after she lost her three loved ones in the accident in April after an alleged drunk driver rear-ended their vehicle, sending it off the road into a crash. Thorby was charged with three counts of DWI death of another. Court documents say that Thorby’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and that he reportedly told a trooper that he had “seven shots of Crown and water.”
Thorby was also charged with four misdemeanors including possession of marijuana and driving in a reckless manner. If convicted for DWI causing the death of two or more people, he could spend 3 to 15 years in prison. But Williams thinks that’s not enough of a punishment for the suffering that has been caused.
“I don’t think 15 years is enough, then they’re also eligible for parole or get time off for good behavior. If it’s a first offense and they don’t have a record, they won’t even get 15 years, it’s probably less than four years,” Williams says.
Williams is now raising her son’s two other children, 3-year-old Mason and 5-year-old Bentley, whom the law is named after. She wants the law to require drunk drivers who cause the death of a parent to pay child support to a surviving spouse or relatives in charge of raising a child until they turn 18.
A Missouri State Representative plans to introduce Bentley’s Law during an upcoming 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,” says Representative Mike Henderson.
Williams says she believes the law would help make possible offenders think harder about their decisions. She says that a lawmaker in Tennessee has agreed to introduce a “Bentley’s Law” during the first legislative session next year and hopes she can take the law nationwide.
Source: FOX Carolina