Drunk Drivers Will Have To Pay Child Support If They Kill A Parent, New Tennessee Law Rules

Drunk Drivers Will Have To Pay Child Support If They Kill A Parent, New Tennessee Law Rules

In the state of Tennessee, a new law has been unanimously passed, stating that drunk drivers have to pay child support if a parent is killed in an accident.

The law is known as the "Bentley's Law" after a five-year-old Bentley lost his parents and a brother due to a drunk driver. His grandmother, Cecilia Williams, came up with the idea to create a law that will hold accountable those who dare to drink and drive.

In 2018, 243 people were killed by drivers under the influence of alcohol. Each year after, the number of people killed by drunk drivers increases.

Though the law is now only applicable in Tennessee, other states are considering similar measures.

Bentley's Story

Cordell Williams, fiance Lacey Newton, and Cordell Williams II, only four months old, died when their car was rear-ended by a drunk driver and went off the road. The drunk driver, David Thurby, had twice the legal limit of alcohol levels in his blood.

Thurby was arrested and charged with three counts of driving under the influence resulting in the death.

Bentley and his 3-year-old brother Mason have been living with grandmother Cecilia Williams ever since the tragedy happened on April 13th, 2021. Talking to the media, she said:

"They deserve to get that compensation because you're talking about raising children that their parents are no longer here."

How Does The Law Work?

State Representative Mark Hall said that the law sends a message that "drunk driving in the state of Tennessee is no longer tolerated."

The offenders have one year after their prison release date before they have to start making payments.

If the child reaches 18, the offender will have to continue making payments until they are completed.

Though nothing can bring a parent back, it is a way of ensuring that children whose families are taken from them are not left financially drained.