Representative Dennis Keene Says Mother’s Death Could Have Been Avoided

Response to DUI Death of Floyd County Mother of Four

Wilder, KY:  State Representative Dennis Keene who has been the primary sponsor of tough DUI legislation in Kentucky responded today to the death Tuesday, July 5th of 22-year-old Kentucky mother of four, Tiffany Adams Blankenship, “It is a proven fact that interlock devices save lives and had the Kentucky Senate passed House Bill 58 during the legislative session, there is a possibility that Tiffany would be alive today.”

A three-time convicted drunk driver killed Blankenship Tuesday.  Malen Mitchell Jr. has been charged with murder, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.  House Bill 58 would have required that all convicted DUI offenders install an interlock (breathalyzer) ignition device on their automobile that would prohibit the engine from starting if the subject had been drinking.  The legislation unanimously passed the House of Representatives 95-0 in February but died in the Kentucky Senate without serious consideration.  Similar legislation passed the House in 2010 and was again ignored by the Senate.

Tiffany Adams Blankenship was a resident of Floyd County, Kentucky, the home of House Speaker Greg Stumbo.  “I am a big proponent of Rep. Keene’s attempts to crack down on repeat drunk drivers precisely because it could help avoid tragedies like the one we saw just a few days ago.  My hope is that we can get his interlock legislation passed once and for all in 2012 and begin making sure that those caught for drinking and driving do not make the same mistake twice,” said House Speaker Stumbo.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) strongly supports Keene’s efforts to pass ignition interlock legislation.  According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), alcohol ignition interlock devices save lives.  “Studies on interlocks for both first-time and repeat offenders show that interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by an average of 64%,” according to the MADD website.

Representative Dennis Keene nearly lost his daughter Kelly Keene Jones in a drunk driving accident in 2002.  She required three subsequent surgeries in order to overcome her injuries and now Kelly is an outspoken advocate for tougher DUI laws.

There were 27,157 drunk driving convictions in Kentucky in 2009 and 14 states currently have mandatory ignition interlock laws.

“I know too well the pain and suffering that Amanda’s family is going through and I intend to keep working to pass the ignition interlock laws to so that fewer families in Kentucky will go through these senseless tragedies,” said Keene.

Paid for by Dennis Keene for State Representative Campaign
LRC photos courtesy of LRC Public Information