Family Of Woman Killed By Suspected Drunk Driver Pushes For New Law

As Seen on NBC news October 22, 2013

Oct 22, 2013
By: Rick Reitzel
By: Alex Mazer, Multimedia Content Producer

ROSS COUNTY, Ohio – Annie Rooney on her way home from a bike ride when she was struck head-on and killed by a suspected drunk driver on July 4.

Now, Rooney’s father, Richard Rooney, says he and his family are pushing for a law that would stop drunk drivers before they have the chance to drive.

Since her death, Annie’s family has been working with lawmakers proposing Annie’s law. Rooney calls it an easy way to decrease the death rate caused by convicted drunk drivers getting behind the wheel.

“The liquor establishment served the perpetrator while she was clearly intoxicated which is against the law,” Richard said.”Everybody would be subjected to have to pass a breathalyzer test before their ignition starts. That is called an ignition interlock breathalyzer system.”

In 15 states there is already a law that requires an interlock device on the vehicle belonging anyone who has been convicted of OVI, and several more require a device after the first conviction.

Annie’s law could help the State of Ohio join that group, but there is opposition from some in the liquor industry.

“I would tell my daughter we are doing it for you,” said Richard.

Richard says his daughter dedicated her life before and after she became a lawyer to helping those abused and suffering.

He says his daughter was a prosecutor in Boseman, Montana. She lost her mentor to a drunk driver.

“To realize another human being had been responsible for the death of our daughter was sort of devastating,” he said.

Annie had borrowed a mountain bike from a friend and was driving home in a Lincoln Navigator, when she was hit head-on by 36-year-old Shira B. Seymour, of Bainbridge, who was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Seymour was indicted on three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide in the July 4 crash.

Investigative reports from the Ohio State Highway Patrol show Seymour’s blood alcohol content was at .190, more than twice the legal limit, when the crash occurred.

OSHP dispatcher Catherine Davis was working that evening from the Portsmouth dispatch center. Davis allegedly took a call reporting a suspected drunk driver, but failed to dispatch a trooper. Davis was given a written reprimand on October 2 for not dispatching a trooper to the report of a drunk driver.

According to the OSHP report Davis violated policy and did not properly log the service call.

“There were multiple opportunities where this could have been prevented,” said Richard.

Seymour pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in the Ross County Jail on $500,000 bond.

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