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Local DUI victim says new child support law is beneficial

Posted: 6:35 PM, Jan 26, 2024
Updated: 2024-01-26 19:35:29-05
DUI child support

WACO, Texas — During the arctic blast of 2021 that killed 250 people and left many Texans without power for days, the Salvation Army was one of the few places in Central Texas with power.

They provided dozens of people with a place to sleep every night along with hot meals, and their emergency shelter and church were open to help anyone in need.

Major Jim Taylor is the commanding officer and remembers being at their church.

“I was there 24/7," Taylor said.

"I slept there at nighttime and I was there to prepare meals because we couldn’t get food back and forth, so we used what little food we had at the church, and I made meals for the people staying at the church breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

He says they are ready to do it all again if another arctic blast sweeps across the state.

"What's interesting is, most of our staff that was here three years ago is still with us, and so we kind of developed a routine during that last event that we can repeat if need be," Taylor said.

"We keep enough food in our cooler and freezer to get us through several days — probably an entire week, so if we needed to do that again, the Salvation Army would be able to meet the need.”

Just last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new energy expansion aimed at preparing the state for weather emergencies.

Bentley's Law makes DUI offenders who kill a parent pay child support to the minor children.

We spoke to one teen who approves of the new law.

"My dad was always the dad that was in the stands.”

Kenzie Sullivan lost her father when a drunk driver slammed into him.

“The complete shock of showing up to my home and there being officers waiting for me there.”

Kenzie was just 19 when that happened, but imagine how hard it would be if she was still in grade school.

"I know how many pivotal moments my dad was a part of before I turned 18, and I can’t imagine the strain that would have put on my mom knowing she would have to provide for me."

25 News brought you last September about a new law says drunk drivers who kill parents of minors must pay child support for all the minor children.

“The purpose here is to help kids who have to grow up without their parent, and to help them with some finances," said local attorney, Kevin Vice.

Vice helps answer questions surrounding the new law like do all siblings get support?

"They’re required to pay for all children for all kids."

And who pays if the offender goes to jail and has no money?

“The only problem I see is how to get child support if the offender has no money because he’s in jail.”

He says most offenders only get five years’ probation so they can still work.

Vice says an aggravated manslaughter will bring a couple years behind bars, but the fines don’t have to be paid until a year after the offender gets out of jail.

He says the law is a good start, but could use more fine tuning.

Like covering child support for parents who get disabled in a DUI wreck, and making the offender pay the child’s health insurance.

“The law’s intent is fabulous and other states are ahead and others are following and the evolution will grow to provide better protection for kids," Vice said.