DRAKE'S LAW: Parents push for tougher repeat DUI penalties

DRAKE'S LAW: Parents push for tougher repeat DUI penalties

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

On Tuesday, the horrible crash that took the life of an infant nearly two years ago was the topic of conversation at the Minnesota Capitol as lawmakers considered a bill called "Drake's Law."

Drake Bigler's parents are pushing to increase the jail time repeat drunk drivers would face after losing the 5-month-old boy in a crash with a drunk driver. It was the driver's third DUI since 2000, and he was sentenced to serve 4 years in prison for the fatal crash.

"The emotion is always there. It's still raw," Brad Bigler admitted.

Since the crash in July 2012, video and pictures are all the Biglers have to remember their son by -- but they hope his memory can help protect another family.

"There have been a lot of people that have come to us and have asked us to step up, and we feel it's the right thing to do," Brad Bigler said. "If it means using Drake's legacy to help others later on, I think that's what we want to do."

Appearing alongside two Republican lawmakers, the Biglers expressed their support for a new bill that would increase the prison penalties for vehicular homicide to 15 years if the driver had a prior DUI in the past decade that caused either injury or property damage.

"The situation here is not a single extra glass of wine," Rep. Chris Swedzenski explained. "These folks are multiple times over the legal limit."

The current state law reads that anyone who "causes the death of a human being or death of an unborn child may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 10 years." If Drake's Law passes, those sentencing limits would be replaced -- and Bigler hopes that will deter anyone who drinks from getting behind the wheel.

"This is just a step in the right direction," he said. "I don't know where it's going to go, but definitely, a step in the right direction."

The bill's sponsors are up against the clock, however. The legislation was just introduced on Monday and must pass at least one committee by the end of the week in order to be voted on this session.

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