State Rep. Terry Meza on Friday (1/22)filed legislation which will require motorists to be tested for blood alcohol level if they strike a pedestrian causing serious bodily injury or death.
Meza (D-Irving) said the bill, dubbed "Colten's Law," will "empower police officers to detain someone who has hit a pedestrian to test for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system."
Meza noted the law is named after Colten Carney, who was struck and killed while walking to work on January 30, 2017. Colten, who suffered from Autism, had experienced a flat tire while on the way to work that morning and, eager to get to his job, decided to walk.
His mother, Michelle Carney, told the Herald-Banner newspaper of Greenville and Rockwall that it did not make sense that her son's body was tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol, but not the person who struck him.
Under current law, it is up to individual officers whether or not to detain someone to conduct blood alcohol testing if they have hit a pedestrian.
"Anyone who hits a pedestrian in this state causing serious bodily injury or death should not be allowed to leave the scene of that accident without having been tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their body," Meza said during a press conference at the Texas Capitol Friday afternoon.
The legislation, House Bill 1287, is supported by Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The MADD National Headquarters is in Meza's district. A spokesperson for MADD participated in Friday's press conference. "MADD is proud to support this bill," said Bill Cardamon of MADD.
About Colten Carney:
Colten was a high functioning autistic young man (intellectually and developmental disabled IDD). He worked very hard at everything he did and absolutely loved people and making them happy. He went to school in Rockwall, where his mom works. He was a student at Rockwall-Heath High school, where he was involved in band and robotics. He graduated from Rockwall-Heath in 2011. He went to Jr College and got a certificate for Level 1 firefighting and a machinist certification as well. He worked at Kroger in Rockwall and had a full-time job at Rockwell American in Royse City.
On his way to work on January 30th, 2017, Colten got a flat tire. He was not far from his work, so he decided to walk the rest of the way, not wanting to be late. He was struck and killed by a vehicle. The man that struck him was not tested for drugs or his phone records checked. There is not a mandatory law to have drug testing or phone records retrieved in a fatality accident. We want to make it a law. We don’t want other families to have to wonder. Colten’s favorite color was red, and he was killed on a Monday, so we have a campaign to wear red on Mondays. We have two Facebook pages #redforColten and the Colten Carney Memorial Fund. We would love for you to like our pages and spread awareness to your friends and family.
(Carney Source: Colten Carney Memorial Fund Website)