Resident Explains Dustin’s Law To Bradley County Commission; Hopes To Change Existing DUI Laws

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley

Bradley County resident Kim Ledford addressed the Bradley County Commission Monday evening to propose Dustin’s Law. She emotionally explained, “Representative Eric Watson has asked me to come before you to talk to you about what we have been through for the past 2 ½ years and what we are trying to accomplish from such a horrendous act. For those of you who don’t know, my son Dustin was killed 2 ½ years ago on APD-40 by a very intoxicated young woman. Since that time, I have fought with everything in me to keep his memory alive and to make something good come out of a horrible situation. I prayed when Dustin died that God would not let him die in vain. It was evidence to me at the funeral home when he died how much of an impact Dustin made on this county. He played baseball for Bradley High School and always had a beautiful smile on his face. He was loved by a lot of people. Dustin was 24 years old.”

She went on to explain, “My husband and I speak at victim impact panels. It is like DUI school where people have to go and listen to stories like ours to let them know the hurt and the pain that bad choices make. I am asking you to send a resolution to our governor in support of Dustin’s Law. To explain a little about the law, the girl that killed Dustin had no priors on her record and because of that, she got charged with vehicular homicide. We are asking that that be changed to aggravated vehicular homicide. It won’t help anything in our case, but maybe the next time someone gets behind the wheel intoxicated and hurts or kills someone it will have a greater impact on them.”

Mrs. Ledford then asked Captain W.G. Campbell with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, the crash investigator on her son’s case to explain more about the bill.

Capt. Campbell said, “This is a good bill. Dustin’s Law is long overdue. The law we have now states if you get behind the wheel intoxicated and kill someone, you are guilty of vehicular homicide. This bill would change and enhance the existing bill to aggravated vehicular homicide. Right now, you have to have a prior conviction of DUI for it to be aggravated. I don’t think that’s right. This particular young lady in Dustin’s case blew a .24 and had meth in her system driving the wrong way on APD-40. If that’s not aggravated, I don’t know what is.

“This bill would change that where you don’t have to have that prior, to if you have a concentration level of .20 or higher or .08 or higher with meth in your system and as a result of that you crash and kill someone, you would be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. Basically, it doubles your time in prison. The current bill for vehicular homicide is 8 to 12 years. The next time someone gets behind the wheel that is double drunk they would have to spend double time.”

“Last year 23 lives were lost in Bradley County in traffic accidents, of which three were alcohol related. In the last six years, 89 lives were lost, 24 of those were in alcohol related accidents. We need to stand up as a community and say we’ve had enough.”

Commissioner Robert Rominger placed a resolution in support of Dustin’s Law on next week’s voting agenda.

In other business, Sheriff Jim Ruth addressed the commission with a letter expressing his support for the resolution supporting existing state and federal rights to keep and bear arms and asked the commission to include his letter along with the resolution sent to state and federal representatives.

Commissioner Bill Winters explained the recent discussion that took place concerning the Bradley County Rehabilitation Health Board last week, specifically the economic challenges faced with the Choices program, a home healthcare support system. There has been a reduction of revenue and the board has had to reduce expenditures resulting in a loss from 193 to 185 patients. He explained the Alzheimer’s unit will be impacted the most. The recommendation was to move from that particular setting to setting up a rehab center.

The following items were also placed on next week’s agenda.

-Resolution for a water line extension in District 4. The extension is part of the community development block grant and is estimated to cost $987,000. Ocoee Utility District will be responsible for matching funds, $487,000 with the state up to $500,000.

-Rezoning request in District 6.

-Animal Control contract renewal. Chairman Louie Alford requested a recommendation come from the Finance Committee once it reviews it.

-Resolution declaring vacancy in the office of constable for the 5th District.

The Bradley County Commission will hold its next voting session next Monday at 7 p.m.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, KEVIN MICHAEL  1056 PINEVILLE ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency:  VIOLATION OF ORDER OF PROTECTION OR RESTRAINING OR --- BALTIMORE, MICHAEL JUNIOR  3217 6TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 374071536  Age at Arrest: 59 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Severe Storms Rake Chattanooga Area; Flash Flooding Possible

Severe storms raked through the Chattanooga area on Saturday. Sale Creek was one of the hardest hit areas. Storm damage on Cooper Road included two crushed cars. Trees were on homes and railroad tracks that are the main line between Chattanooga and Cincinnati. Cooper Road is near Lake Chickamauga. There was also damage along Providence Road at Sale Creek. ... (click for more)

No Tax-Supported Entity Should Get Secrecy In Spending

A shadowy situation has emerged in Chattanooga with an organization that manages millions of taxpayer dollars with no transparency and such a surprising disregard for accountability that one wonders what it would take to wake up elected officials who are supposedly in charge. Welcome to the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose lawyer threatened to sue the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Is Dr. Edwards The One?

Just hours after the chairman of the Hamilton County School Board emailed a list of 14 candidates on Friday afternoon to be considered as the next Superintendent of the 42,000-student system to the other board members, Dr. Nakia Edwards, an Assistant Commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Education, became the early “common sense” favorite. And, at first glance, she has ... (click for more)

Lookouts Double Header Cancelled Sunday Due To Heavy Rains

The Lookouts have announced that Sunday's(4/23) double-header has been postponed due to inclement weather, unplayable field conditions and impending forecast.   The team will make up these contests as part of two double headers, one  on Monday  and one  on Tuesday .  Both double headers will start at  5:15 p.m.  and will consist of ... (click for more)

UTC Track Completes In War Eagle Invitational

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore Haley Morris (Lenoir City, Tenn.) topped her personal best in the women’s 3000 meter Steeplechase over the weekend at the War Eagle Invitational.   Morris finished fourth in the steeplechase with a time of 11:48.74, edging her previous top time set in the finals of the 2016 Southern Conference championships.   Also ... (click for more)