Proposed Missouri Law Would Make DWI Drivers Pay Child Support to Victim’s Families

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The grandmother of a 5-year-old Missouri boy who lost his mother, father, and infant sibling in a DWI crash in April wants the man charged in their deaths to pay child support to the surviving children and is working on a state law named after her grandson, Bentley, to do just that.

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

Williams’ son, Cordell Williams, 30, fiancé Lacey Newton, 25, and 4-month-old infant grandson Cordell Williams II, were killed in April when the car they were traveling in was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by David Thurby, went off the road and crashed, striking several trees, according to the station.

Thurby is charged with three counts of DWI death and had a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit of .08 at the time of the accident. 

He allegedly told police he had consumed “seven shots of Crown (Royal whiskey) and water.”

Williams wants the proposed state law to help pay for the support of the two surviving children, Bently, 5, and Mason, 3.

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

Williams said convicted offenders would pay for the children of their victims until they turn 18.

Missouri State Representative Mike Henderson said he 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 in the story.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,142 people died in DWI crashes nationally during 2019.

The agency reports that a .08 blood alcohol content reading would lead to drivers losing concentration, speed control, and reduced information processing ability, and impaired perception.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 1 million drivers were arrested for DWI in 2016, which is 1 percent of the 111 million self-reported of alcohol-impaired driving episodes each year.

“Someone decides to play God and take their lives and end it for them. It’s unfair,” Tiffany Johnson, Williams’ sister-in-law, told FOX2 in Missouri. “(Lacey) was driving, she had her seat belt on, and the guy hit them from behind. It was unexpected, but more when someone careless and reckless makes a simple decision. You could take an Uber or walk home but you also took a 4-month-old baby,”

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