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New law would force DUI offenders to hear from victims

DUI offenders found guilty in Missouri could soon have a new requirement.

State legislators are considering forcing a panel of drunk driving offenders to hear victim impact stories.

The bill, called Tobi’s Law, is in memory of Tobias Olsen, who was killed along with his mother by a drunk driver.

It would require each DUI offender to study the short and long term effects of drunk driving accidents.

The panel would involve a variety of study methods including showing the offender pictures of crash victims.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Mike Kelley, said these panels are powerful tools to create an additional level of empathy and understanding with offenders.

It’s an important issue for one of Kelley’s staff members, Johanna Henry.

In 2007, Henry’s mother and brother were killed as a result of a drunk driving incident.

It’s a case ABC 17 News followed as it was brought before the Missouri Supreme Court last year.

Henry now advocates for victim impact panels and said for her, it’s all about preventing what happened to her family.

“I was hit by a drunk driver on the way home from church and it killed my mom and brother. I was 14 and now almost 23, so I’ve been doing this for quite some time. Changing one life, changing one drunk driver could have saved a family,” said Henry.

Tobi’s Law was reviewed in a House Committee Wednesday.

Kelley said he expects the bill to be approved very soon.

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