South Carolina invoice would require convicted drunken drivers to pay little one assist to victims’ households
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) — South Carolina lawmakers want drunken drivers to be held financially responsible if they cause a wreck that results in the death of a parent or legal guardian.
House Bill 5299 was filed by South Carolina District 10 Republican Rep. West Cox only a few days remaining in this year’s legislative session.
The bill would require people in the state who are convicted of a DUI resulting in the death of a parent or guardian to pay child support and maintenance to the victim’s family until the child is 18 years old.
“Too often children in this state are left without support as the victim of a DUI,” Cox said in a news release. “It is time for the offenders to pay to support those children. Tragically, children are left without support in these cases, and we need to force the person responsible for the death to provide for that child.”
Steven Barrett, regional executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in South Carolina, said losing someone who’s providing for the family is creating a new set of complications. So, while the offender in some cases gets to move on with their life, the family is left with all these repercussions, including economic ones.
Kevin Avant of Georgetown said he was living the American dream with his wife, Ashley, and their three beautiful daughters when Ashley was killed in a crash involving an alleged drunken driver.
Avant said he has had to start over and will eventually have to sell the house that he and Ashley once shared a life in.
“The girls are having a hard time mentally and don’t want to go back there because their mother isn’t there,” Avant said, adding that he has had to quit his job of 17 years so that he can be around his daughters .
That has created a financial burden.
“It’s tough when you lose one income and you have to go to be a single parent,” he said. “I got three girls and I am still trying to work shift work for two and a half years now. And if you don’t have a family support team, it’s hard to even keep your job and to make it work.”
The convicted drunken driver would be put on a payment plan and the amount of money they would have to pay to the family would be determined by typical child-support elements. Once the person is out of jail, they would have a year to start making the payments.
The legislative session ends May 12, and lawmakers are still working to get the bill passed this year.