Drink drivers in Tennessee will now be forced to pay child support if they kill a parent in a crash

Under this law, a person convicted of vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide through drunkenness must pay child support if the victim is the parent of a minor.

The law was approved last year and went into full swing earlier this year.

Ethan, Haley and Bentley’s law requires convicted drivers to hand over cash until the child turns 18 and graduates from high school.

Fox 13 Memphis reported that mothers against DUI and Cecilia Williams, who is raising two grandchildren after her son and partner died in a DUI, were the driving force behind the law.

Credit: ABC

Alex Otte, regional director of Moms Against DUI, told the press:

“She often talks about grandparents and children already being raised. They don’t expect this expense.”

“We want people to understand that you will be held accountable for this decision, but that’s not all,” Otte said.

“The decision to do so affects so many lives.”

The law is named after two children whose father, Chattanooga police officer Nicholas Gallinger, died in 2019 from a DUI.

The convicted driver, a drunken Janet Hines, hit Officer Gallinger, who was inspecting an overflowing manhole cover.

Nearly four years later, his father, Barry Gallinger, told Local 3 News:

Credit: Officer Down Memorial Page
Credit: Officer Down Memorial Page

Gallinger became a huge supporter of the bill, even trying to get it passed in time to help the three surviving children of Dustin and Brittany Dillard.

Patrick Conley has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and three counts of drunken assault after killing two of his parents on Christmas Day 2022.

Conley has pleaded not guilty to both charges, but if found guilty, he will have to pay child support under the new law.

Gallinger’s family attorney, Ben Rhodes, told the outlet:

The law wasn’t passed quickly enough to help his own grandchildren, but Gallinger sees this as just the beginning.

He added: “Hopefully this is not the end.”

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