Emma's Law Gaining Support

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By Rochelle Dean

(WOLO) COLUMBIA,S.C., --

Two separate families affected by the impact of deadly dui related crashes, went before Columbia City Council members Tuesday night to ask for support as they push for Emma's Law to pass in the Senate sub committee Thursday morning.

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, still mourning the loss of his 3 year old Grand-Nephew, Josiah Jenkins after the car he was riding in was struck by a suspected drunk driver last week. David and Karen Longstreet, lost their 6 year old daughter Emma as they headed to church back in 2011.

In both cases, authorities say the driver's involved in the collisions had prior alcohol related offenses.

Different cases, but both families say similar outcomes and now they are hoping together they can get Bill137 to pass in the house - making it tougher for first time offenders.

The law would not only impose stiffer fines but would also make it mandatory to install ignition interlock devices the driver of a car would have to use throughout their ride, not only when they start their vehicle.

Chief Jenkins and David Longstreet are slated to hold a news conference Thursday morning on the steps of the state house to respond to the outcome as soon as the Senate Sub Committee concludes.

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Patricia Voelker said on Thursday, Mar 20 at 3:53 PM

I was at hearing this AM. It passed on to full committee with easy support. But not until Sen. Todd Rutherford issued a personal blast at a woman who works diligently to decrease DUI. That was inappropriate. He stated he wants 0.0 for blood alcohol level and has offered many amendments over the years for that. Then, he offered 3 amendments to Emma's Law, one raising the .12 limit to .15 before convicted driver has to install ignition lock. My personal opinion of Sen. Rutherford dropped significantly as Emma's Law was amended. I lost all of my grandchildren (3) and my only son-in-law to a DUI. I do not condone anyone who drinks and drives. If Sen. Rutherford truly meant his 0.0 tolerance, he would have amended Emma's Law downward, not upward. Otherwise the hearing was another reminder of how far and how deep grief from a DUI can reach.

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