Florida lawmaker introduces bill requiring drunk drivers who kill parents to pay child support

Drunk drivers could soon be required to pay child support if they kill a minor’s parent or guardian.


Representative Carolina Amesty (R-Orlando) says she introduced the bill, HB 79, after hearing of a tragic double fatal accident in Orlando.

Father and son Shane and Jakob Lloyd were driving through the intersection of Lake Underhill Road and Rouse Road when troopers say 40-year-old Leslie Gehret, who investigators say were under the influence, ran a red light—killing both of them. It was her third DUI in 10 years.

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The two were visiting Orlando for college orientation at the University of Central Florida.

19-year-old Jakob had just graduated high school in Colorado and was about to start classes at UCF.

Their family says they want to see more laws on the book where drunk drivers are held accountable.

“I know it won’t bring that my brother and my nephew back, but hopefully it can prevent another family from going through we’re going through,” said Brandy Bowden, Shane’s sister. “We need to stop seeing people who are on their second or third, I see some people on their sixth and eighth DUI. Why? How is that happening? There needs to be a harsher punishment.”

Amesty introduced the bill in late September to require people convicted of causing a death while driving drunk to pay child support if the victim’s children are minors.

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“We need to ensure that these people that are driving under the influence are held accountable financially,” Amesty said.

She says she introduced the bill after seeing other states—like Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas– pass this type legislation and hearing of the accident that took Brandy Bowden’s brother and nephew.

“It’s a start. But how does it help people who, like this lady that we’re dealing with? She has nothing,” Bowden said.

Others like DUI lawyers also have questions about how it’s feasible.

“The reality is, in any DUI manslaughter case, the presumptive prison sentence for someone that’s convicted of DUI manslaughter is 12 years in prison,” said Richard Hornsby, an Orlando lawyer.

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Amesty says if passed, the law would require drunk drivers pay—regardless of income level or incarceration. She says the government could even acquire the suspect’s assets.

“This is not about can they pay or how will they pay? This is a must pay,” Amesty said.

Amesty says the child support payments will be determined based on the child’s needs. The court would also factor in what the child had before the accident like private school education or childcare services.

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