Father Urges Lawmakers To Pass Emma's Law

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Our state has consistently ranked at the top in the nation when it comes to DUI related deaths.

This past Sunday, another family laid to rest a loved one who troopers say was a victim to DUI.

Now this week, the father of Emma Longstreet is calling for lawmakers to step up and pass a bill that's been sitting in a house committee for two years.

"With the system that we have in place, we can say that we are failing as a state," said David Longstreet.

"The interlock is not the solution to all solutions, but it's a start and we need to get more people in them. There are so many people that are not in them that are supposed to be and our state legislatures need to step up to that."

Longstreet has been urging law makers to pass 'Emma's Law,' named after his 6-year-old daughter that was killed by a drunk driver.

Under the current law, an ignition interlock would only apply for those who have been charged with DUI on a second offense.

Emma's law would require it on the first offense.

"I think it's going to show the lawmakers and citizens of this state that when it comes to moral issues, that they can do the right things and not just work on the easy problems, but the difficult ones. Our laws on the books are not allowing these people to be locked up, they are able to get back out on bond."

An ignition interlocking device requires a person to blow into a device that then measures their blood-alcohol level. If that person blows a content higher than the .08 legal limit, the car will not start.

Billy Hutto, the man convicted for Emma's death, was a repeat DUI offender. Lonnie Gross, the man troopers say killed 3-year-old Josiah Jenkins, had three prior DUI convictions.

"I thought a 6-year-old girl would be enough but it looks like a 3-year-old has to show that life lost and I feel so sorry for the Jenkins family."

Gross, the man who is charged with Josiah's death, was out on a $1,000 dollar bond for DUI last year, and his license was suspended. Longstreet says that's a sign that the system is broken.

The Judiciary Committee will have a hearing for the bill Thursday at 9 a.m.


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