(The Center Square) – A lawmaker has filed a bill that would enhance the prison sentence for impaired drivers who kill someone and injure others in Illinois.
The so-called “Lindsey’s Law” legislation would pave the way for law enforcement to charge intoxicated drivers with a Class 2 felony if they kill someone and also cause great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of others.
“Right now, the law allows a person to get a stiffer penalty if they kill a second person, but not one if they kill one and injure another,” Illinois state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said.
“This law would right that law. As it is, the law does not give that second victim, or the injured individual, justice and this law is to right that wrong,” McClure said.
It is a battle McClure has been fighting for some time now, having filed Senate Bill 1405 several times over the past few years.
McClure said his motivation for so tirelessly pushing the bill comes from his commitment to honoring the life of Lindsey Sharp, a 26-year-old woman hit by a drunk driver in a Springfield Walmart parking lot in 2015.
“She was killed and her son was injured by a person driving while intoxicated,” he said.
“We have many people being impacted by drunk drivers, not just in this state but across the nation. We have to send the message that this is unacceptable and that if you hit and hurt somebody as a drunk driver, you will pay for it,” McClure said.
In the Sharp case, Antoine Willis was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated driving under the influence.
With Lindsey’s boyfriend also being injured in the crash, McClure said his bill would require an additional four to 20 years in prison for anyone breaking the law.
While the bill has always stalled in years past, McClure said he remains optimistic it will cross the finish line.
“All I can be is optimistic, even though I know Democrats are very much against any kind of penalty enhancements,” he said. “I’m optimistic because this is the right thing to do.”
McClure said he still speaks with the Sharp family, especially when the time to refile the bill rolls around.
“It’s important to them and they want to see a horrible situation made as right as it can be,” he said. “I continue to file for them.”
SB 1405 now sits in the Senate Special Committee on Criminal Law and Public Safety.