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New Mexico Accident Brings State's Soft DWI Laws To The Forefront
Young mother sets out for justice and change after a drunk driver killed her unborn son
Many people hold that perspective, as did 25-year-old Aileen Smith, until a drunk driver took the life of her unborn son in June. The driver had four prior DWI convictions.
According to an article in the New Mexico Watchdog, the Governor’s office reports that 40% of the state’s auto crashes are due to drunk driving. And 60% of the time – it’s a repeat drunk driver.
“From what I understand, there aren’t really any meaningful consequences for drunk drivers in New Mexico until they get up to seven DWIs,” Smith said. “We want justice for our son, so we started a petition to change New Mexico’s laws.”
How You Can Help: Sign the petition to install stronger DWI laws in New Mexico.
SMITH WAS SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED
Smith was seven months pregnant when she and her husband, Zach, set out from their home in Colorado Springs for a baby shower being thrown by family in San Diego. While traveling through northern New Mexico, the couple T-boned the vehicle of a drunk driver after he pulled across their lane and in front of them.
The young mother’s water broke while trapped in her SUV. As medics arrived on the scene, a news segment captured her pleas for help on video as she screamed “I’m pregnant.”
Smith underwent an emergency C-section which doctors hoped would save her son, already named Dimitri after her grandfather. Dimitri only lived for one minute, and Smith never held him alive.
“I couldn’t wait to hold my baby. This isn’t how it was supposed to happen. In the name of Dimitri, my husband and I are advocating for tougher DWI laws in the state of New Mexico,” Smith said. “Stricter consequences could surely help save other families from suffering a devastating loss like ours.”
SUPPORT FROM NEW MEXICO POLITICAL FIGURES
Over 2,000 people have already signed her petition. Among her thousands of supporters, are New Mexico State Representative, Alonzo Baldonado, and candidate for the New Mexico State Senate, Craig Brandt.
“I absolutely agree with you that NM’s DWI laws are not tough,” Mr. Brandt wrote on the Justice for Dimitri facebook page. “It takes 4 convictions before it is a felony and with DA's constantly reducing the charges it's more like 8. We need to make it a felony on the second conviction and greatly increase the penalty on the first conviction.”
Representative Baldonado also posted on the page. “I am deeply sorry for your loss. If God delivers me into another term in the NM Legislature I will support stricter consequences for DWI as well as a law that allows criminal prosecution upon the death of an unborn child. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront.”
HELP BRING JUSTICE TO DIMITRI
Sign the petition: http://www.change.org/
Follow on Facebook: Justice for Dmitri (http://www.facebook.com/