WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
February 11, 2013
There is a new effort to dramatically reduce drunk driving across the state of Tennessee.
A group of state lawmakers wants to install a breathalyzer device in the vehicle of every person convicted of a DUI.
The proposal is already drawing support.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is backing the plan to require an ignition interlock device in an offender's vehicle.
The idea is simple, if you've been drinking your car won't start.
The equipment may be small in size, but many believe an ignition interlock device can have a big impact.
"Blood alcohol content is 0.00 and it tells me to start the car," says Mitch Davis.
Mitch Davis' company installs the devices, which are designed to prevent driving under the influence.
"We will essentially stop DUI and killing of our citizens by repeat offenders," says Rep. Tony Shipley, (R) Kingsport.
State lawmakers want to mandate ignition interlock systems for every person convicted of drunk driving.
"And make sure that they do not have alcohol on their breath before they can operate their car," says Sen. Mae Beavers, (R) Lebanon.
Supporters say it's more than just a piece of legislation.
"You know I have my daughter's picture on the nightstand. When I go to be at night, that's the last thing I see," says MADD advocate Millie Webb.
Millie Webb lost her four year old daughter and 19 month old nephew to a drunk driver in 1971.
She has seen the data. The CDC says interlock devices reduce repeat offenses by 67%.
"And if somebody is an offender with a history of drinking and driving, they will not be able to start the car," says Webb.
Lawmakers say convicted drivers will pay for the devices to be installed.
Representative William Lamberth, a former prosecutor, says it's another tool to make a difference.
"It takes someone who has already been convicted of DUI and does everything within our power to prevent them from doing it again," says Rep. William Lamberth, (R) Cottontown.
Millie Webb wears an angel in remembrance of her daughter and nephew, and she says this law would save lives.
"They are angels, and I don't have to worry about them hurting anymore," says Webb.
Right now Tennessee requires an ignition interlock device for any person convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content of .15 or greater.
This law would move that requirement to .08.
Lawmakers believe it has a very good chance of passing.
For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn
Monday, February 11 2013, 11:28 PM CST
Man pleads guilty to Memphis officer's murder
May 21, 2013 22:22 GMT
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A former death row inmate is set to be released from prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of a Memphis police officer.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said Tuesday that she has accepted Timothy McKinney's guilty plea.
McKinney was convicted of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Officer Don Williams. The officer was killed outside a comedy club in December 1997.
McKinney appealed and won a new trial, which ended with a deadlocked jury. A third trial earlier this year also ended in a hung jury.
The Commercial Appeal reports that McKinney was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Since he's already served more than 15 years -- including 11 on death row -- McKinney will be released this week.
Williams' family opposed the settlement.
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