Drunk drivers beware: Lawmakers unveil 'Laura's Law' in Raleigh - | WBTV Charlotte

Drunk drivers beware: Lawmakers unveil 'Laura's Law' in Raleigh

Laura Fortenberry (left) with a friend. Laura Fortenberry (left) with a friend.
Laura Fortenberry in the foreground as her mother Michelle Armstrong speaks on the radio last summer. Laura Fortenberry in the foreground as her mother Michelle Armstrong speaks on the radio last summer.

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - On Tuesday a new bill was introduced in North Carolina following the death of a local teenager.

The bill called "Laura's Law" is written in honor of Laura Fortenberry and is meant to toughen drunk driving laws. The Gaston County teenager was killed in July when police say Howard Pasour ran into her.

Pasour had three prior D.A. convictions. Police say he was once again drunk when he hit her.

Late Tuesday morning, Republican state representative Tim Moore of Cleveland County unveiled a law in Raleigh aimed at cracking down on repeat DWI offenders.

Efforts for the law began last summer when Laura's mom, Michelle Armstrong, talked with Anchor Molly Grantham live on the radio -- just 18 hours after she buried her daughter.

"I don't really know how to change the laws," she said to Grant ham, while Grantham filled in for Keith Larson on WBT radio.  "But I know with some of these higher officials if they had to deal with what I am having to deal with right now... things would be different.  But why should we have to wait for somebody like that?  We have ordinary people going through this."

Former Representative Wil Neumann was listening to that interview and called in during the radio show.  He told both women he wanted to do something.

He got with Moore and together they wrote the bill, which they're calling "Laura's Law".

The bill throws all kinds of possible penalties out there, including mandatory jail sentences for repeat offenders and longer periods of time for alcohol ankle monitoring.  It also adds restrictions that would force more violators to have to serve their time.

"If a judge hands down a sentence of three years in prison, then they'll actually serve the three years and not just a third of it," says Moore.  "That's what's happening right now for misdemeanor DWI's."

Click the attached video for the full story.

To see the whole bill, click here: 
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2011/Bills/House/HTML/H49v0.html


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