Last Wednesday, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill to require drunk drivers to pay child support if they get into an accident and kill the parent of a minor.
A summary of the legislation says “if a defendant is convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide and the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child,” then the sentencing court must make the defendant pay “restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children.”
They will be required to make payments until each of the underage children turns 18 and graduates from high school, “or the class of which the child is a member when the child reached 18 years of age has graduated.”
The court will decide the amount that should be paid for the children, based on the “financial needs and resources of the child,” as well as the guardian or living parent's financial demands, and “standard of living to which the child is accustomed.”
Daily Wire reports:
According to CBS 46, the legislation passed unanimously. It had been amended to include the names of the children of Nicholas Galinger, a Chattanooga police officer who was killed by a drunk driver while on duty in February 2019. HB 1834, also known as “Ethan’s, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law,” had already passed in the state’s House but has not been signed into law.
Officer Galinger, a 38-year-old rookie, was killed in a hit-and-run in February 2019 while inspecting a manhole cover. The woman driving the car, Janet Hinds, was found guilty of vehicular homicide by intoxication and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Prior to delivering the sentence, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don W. Poole said he believed Hinds was serious about her regret and that she didn’t intend to kill anybody, but she “did intentionally drink before getting into her vehicle.”
District Attorney Neal Pinkston requested that the court place the maximum sentence of 15 years, noting that Hinds had driven under the influence multiple times. However, Ben McGowan, Hinds’ lawyer, requested consideration of the minimum sentence of eight years with “a life of 57-odd years of no criminal conduct” in mind.
Hinds has said she didn’t know she had hit a person that night and would have remained there if she had realized what had happened. She apologized to her family and the Galinger family when she spoke before listening to her sentence.
“I know this apology may be inadequate for the Galinger family,” Hinds said. “Nothing besides God will lessen the hurt that you feel, that I feel.”
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