Tennessee Bill Requires Drunk Drivers Who Kill Parents of a Minor to Pay Child Support

The legislation is yet to be signed into law

Nightime Police Traffic Stop

A Tennessee bill requiring a drunk driver to pay child support if they kill a parent during a crash passed unanimously in the state’s Senate.

Tennessee lawmakers passed House Bill 1834 on Wednesday, and is now headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his expected signature, according to News Channel 3 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The legislation would force anyone convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide to pay restitution if the victim is the parent of a minor child.

The bill was known as "Bentley's Law" after a child in Missouri whose parents were killed in an accident involving a drunk driver.

The bill was also amended to include the names of fallen police officer Nicholas Galinger’s children.

According to local NBC affiliate WSMV-TV in Nashville, Galinger was a Chattanooga police officer when he was struck and killed in February 2019 by a woman, Janet Hinds, who was driving while intoxicated, officials said.

The 38-year-old officer was inspecting a manhole cover that had water flowing from it that evening when Hinds hit him with her car and fled, according to the Associated Press. Hinds was found guilty earlier this year in the fatal hit-and-run and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

According to the bill, the court would determine an amount that is “reasonable and necessary” after considering several factors, including:

  • The financial needs and resources of the child
  • The financial resources and needs of the surviving parent or guardian of the child. If the child is in the custody of the state, the court would consider the resources provided by the department of children’s services
  • The standard of living to which the child is accustomed

If the defendant is incarcerated and unable to pay, they’re given one year after their release to begin payments. The payments would continue until the child reaches 18 and graduates from high school.

On average, 28 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes every day in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That makes more than 10,000 people killed every year.

A highway patrol officer is being called a hero after she used her cruiser to crash head-on into a suspected drunk driver and stop her from reaching hundreds of runners in Pinellas County, Florida.

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