Letter to the Editor
The Columbus Dispatch
Saturday, May 31
The May 11 Dispatch article “Repeat OVI arrests still can end in plea deal” painted a profound picture of the need for strengthened drunken-driving laws in Ohio.
As the grieving father of Annie Rooney, who was killed by a drunken driver on July 4, 2013 in Chillicothe, I find it to be outrageous that hard-core criminals are let free while I mourn.
My daughter’s killer had a record extending back to 1999 of repeated arrests for OVI, almost all of which were pled down.
Annie was a vibrant 36-year-old who had been a prosecutor in Bozeman, Mont.
She had moved back to Ohio two years earlier to be closer to our family.
Annie was a gifted academic and athlete whose charisma had touched almost a thousand lives, and her loss has been catastrophic for our family and her friends.
We have worked for the past year to prevent further loss of life, suffering and the devastation that our family has had to shoulder. Our family is dedicated to changing the law so that another innocent person is not taken in such a reckless, preventable way.
We are pushing to get tougher legislation passed to reduce the number of drunken-driving deaths on Ohio’s road.
Joining forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), AAA, Nationwide and others, we are asking that all convicted drunken drivers, including first-time offenders, be required to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle if they want driving privileges.
This legislation, which we named Annie’s Law, addresses the problem of repeat offenders.
The use of ignition interlocks cuts recidivism by more than 67 percent and is more effective than license suspension. Similar legislation in 22 other states has been followed by a significant reduction in drunken-driving deaths.
The research is overwhelming that early intervention with an ignition-interlock device drastically reduces deaths.
One life lost is too many and in 2012, 385 of our neighbors in Ohio were killed in crashes involving drunken drivers, representing 34 percent of the traffic fatalities.
No father should feel such pain. Annie’s Law will protect the public and teach sober driving.