A new state law known as “Caitlin’s law” creates harsher sentences for repeat drunken drivers.
The law is named after a Johnson County woman who was killed by a repeat drunk driver in 2016.
“She was a beautiful soul inside and out, an infectious smile, loved deeply by her family and friends,” Patti Vogel said as she held back tears describing her daughter Caitlin.
“Her goal in life was to make someone else happy, to make someone else’s life better,” added Caitlin’s dad Kevin Vogel.
Two years ago Caitlin went out to get a bite to eat and never made it home. She was killed by a repeat drunk driver who had two previous DUI convictions.
“He made the wrong choice, and it cost a lot of people,” said Kevin Vogel. “They’ve made life where you can have an Uber and all that stuff, you don’t have to drive.”
A bill signed into law Friday strengthens penalties for repeat drunke drivers who kill or seriously injure someone.
“Patti and Kevin Vogel suffered a loss that every parent fears and never speaks of, the loss of a child,” said State Rep. Russ Jennings, R-Lakin.
Under the new law, a person with a previous DUI conviction will have a recommended prison sentence of eight years rather than the current 5 and a half years.
“It is our hope that by strengthening this law we send a message to those who have a history of driving under the influence that the penalty for doing so will be much more severe,” Gov. Colyer said.
The Vogels said signing the bill into law on March 9 is even more special, since it would’ve been Caitlin’s 26th birthday.
“I just know that she is smiling down on us. I’m glad to have some happiness, to feel some happiness today,” said Patti Vogel.
The law goes into effect this July.