Household of Man Killed In DUI Crash Reacts to Tennessee’s Stricter DUI Regulation Tied to Baby Assist Funds

The state of Tennessee is cracking down on drunk drivers by costing them big time, and drivers charged with a DUI won’t like it. The new law that requires drunk drivers to pay child support for killing a parent.

Bradford Fair of Clarkesville, Tennessee says he won’t soon forget the night he learned his cousin, Myron Fair, 49, died in a car crash.

“March of 2019, I remember it vividly how it happened,” Bradford Fair said of how he was watching the evening news when he learned his cousin, a Memphis Police Department lieutenant with 25 years on the force, had been killed.

“Unfortunately he was getting off of work, his shift and got hit by a guy that was fully intoxicated,” Bradford Fair said.

Investigators say, Fair was stopped at a traffic light when he was hit from behind by Marquell Griffin, 53, who managed to walk away from the crash. Griffin had three prior DUI convictions before killing Fair, who left behind a wife and two kids.

“He has children, he had a wife, his wife was in law enforcement as well, and his children was doing pretty well in school, so it was definitely a tragedy within itself,” said Bradford Fair of the lasting impacts of his cousin Myron’s untimely death.

Deadly DUI crashes like Myron Fair’s case are what helped fuel Bentley’s Law, which overwhelmingly passed the Tennessee General Assembly this spring. The law would require drunk or impaired drivers convicted of vehicular homicide to pay restitution in the form of child support to each of the victim’s children until they’re 18 years old or graduate high school. If the drunk driver is incarcerated and cannot pay, they would have one year after their release from prison to begin child support payments.

“It is definitely another deterrent to impaired driving,” said Tanya Read, who lost her 17-year-old son to a drunk driver. Read is with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and she hopes the new law will cause people thinking about getting behind the wheel impaired to think differently.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says on average 28 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes every day in the United States.

Bentley’s Law was the brainchild of Cecilia Williams who lost her son, his fiancé and her grandson in a DUI crash last year. Williams spent most of her time since she lost her loved ones advocating for tougher laws against drunk drivers.

“I did work really hard on this and I’m still working, we’ve still got plenty for states to work on to get it nationwide,” Williams said.

Williams’ advocacy has led to several states across the country creating their own form of DUI laws that could bring child support payments to victims’ families. Williams says some of the other states considering similar laws include Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Illinois, Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

“We do have 17 states with a lot of them closing their sessions now, we won’t hear anything back from them until the beginning of next year,” Williams said.

Bradford Fair says the fatal accident of his cousin Myron came as the veteran police officer was on the verge of retirement. “He said, ‘Man, I’m about to retire, I’m about to do some things, I’m going to come down there on my off time and work some funerals with you to see how you do it,’” Fair said of his cousin.

Although Bradford Fair supports Bentley’s Law, as it could help families like Myron’s with children younger than 18 when he died, he wonders if the DUI defendants will be able to fulfill their court-ordered child support payments once Bentley’s Law is signed by Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee.

“There definitely should be consequence to this but what if they already have children, they’re paying child support on, is it possible, yeah you’re rude with it, but will the victims really get their money,” Bradford Fair said of the law with a hint of skepticism.

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