Friday, February 25, 2011

Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act bill passes committee unanimously; Family announces Erin's Hope Foundation

Family of 20-year-old killed by drunk driver seeks to increase penalties for drunk driving

One day after the Senate Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 529, the Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act, the family of Erin Swezey announced it has established the Erin’s Hope Foundation. Erin Swezey was hit and killed by a drunk driver on April 4, 2009. She was a 20 year old student at Oklahoma State University.

Erin’s parents, Keith and Dixie Swezey, contacted State Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Jason Nelson who authored the bill that would significantly change the penalties for DUI convictions, including requiring a "brand" of "DUI conviction" be put on driver licenses or identification cards of people convicted and requiring an ignition interlock on the first conviction.

“While we are very happy to see this important legislation pass through the committee unanimously, this is just the first hurdle,” said Keith Swezey. “I want to remind everyone to continue to spread this message and contact their legislators in support of the bill.”

Part of funds from the settlement, including a contribution by the Hudiburg Auto Group, will be used to contribute to the work of a foundation in Erin’s honor. The Erin’s Hope Foundation, founded last year, will be used to educate the public and legislators concerning legislation to prevent drunk drivers from causing accidents like this in the future. The foundation will also be used to honor God and Erin's memory by providing scholarships and funding for missions activity in the United States and abroad.

Erin Swezey
“By establishing the Erin's Hope Foundation, we hope legislation will be enacted that will prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to another family,” said Keith Swezey. “It is a way for us to honor Erin and keep her memory alive.”

“On behalf of the entire Hudiburg family and our employees, we are so sorry for this tragedy that shortchanged this beautiful life,” said David Hudiburg, president of the Hudiburg Auto Group. “Driving under the influence of alcohol or any substance is wrong and this loss is senseless. We are in support of the Erin Elizabeth Swezey Act, Senate Bill 529, and encourage the state legislature in both houses to pass it and send it on to the Governor for signature.”

The Swezey’s have launched a Facebook page, “Erin Swezey Act,” to educate the public about the bill and its progress in the legislature. There is also a website dedicated to the legislation, Updates on the legislation are also being posted on Twitter.
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