Mother of drunk driving victim says WV needs tougher DUI laws - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Mother of drunk driving victim says WV needs tougher DUI laws

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Andrea Bailes Andrea Bailes

Are DUI penalties tough enough? It's a question many of you have asked after a series of deadly alcohol-related accidents this week.

Last week, a little girl was hit by a drunk man as she was trying to cross Route 52 in Wayne County.

On Thursday, a Roane County man smashed his truck into a home, killing a woman and severely injuring a man.  Deputies said he admitted to drinking 7-8 beers before getting behind the wheel.

13 News Reporter Lisa Robbins sat down with the mother of a drunk driving victim who believes the laws are too lax and enough is enough.

Deana Spaulding said her 14-year-old daughter Andrea Bailes was full of life.

"She was a level 7 gymnast. She was a two-time state champion on un-even bars. She was a soccer player from the time she could walk," she said.

In 2011, Andrea went to the movies with some neighbors in Cabell County, but she never made it home.

Andrea was tragically killed after the car she was riding in was hit head on by a drunk driver.  The driver had been arrested for DUI multiple times in the past.   He also died in the crash.

Spaulding said she's made it her mission to share her daughter's story, and advocate for tougher DUI laws in West Virginia.

"I believe the harsher the penalty is, the more less likely they are to do it again," she said.

Spaulding has worked closely with lawmakers, including Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, and former Delegate Brian Savilla, since her daughter's death.  Savilla first introduced Andrea's Law in 2012.  While it did not make it through the legislative process, Spaulding has not given up hope it will one day become a reality.

Andrea's Law would give stiffer penalties in DUI-related crimes.

Under the current law, DUI causing death carries a 2-10 year prison term; not nearly enough time for such a crime, Spaulding said.

"If he would have lived, he injured two people forever. He broke the hearts of families and friends everywhere.  And, he took my daughter's life. Her whole future is gone," she said.

Lawmakers said they plan to discuss Andrea's Law next year.