Deana’s Law passed. It toughens penalties for repeat DUI drivers in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WPVI) — Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation this week to increase penalties for motorists who have multiple DUI convictions in a bid to end what critics have dubbed Pennsylvania’s “revolving door” for the most severely intoxicated name driver.

The state Senate passed the final version of “Deana’s Law” last week after a few attempts were made to get the bill through the Legislature.

The new law goes into effect in November and increases penalties for some offenders who receive a third or more conviction for DUI.

It was February 16, 2019 in Upper Chichester when 45-year-old Deana DeRosa Eckman lost her life. She was killed when she was hit head-on by David Strowhouer as he was driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit. It was his sixth DUI.

“He should have been serving consecutive penalties back in 2019, instead he was faced with concurrent penalties for his fourth and fifth DUI. If that law had been in effect when she was killed, her life probably would not have ended. He didn’t care enough about everyone else on this street. He just cared about getting bombed that night,” said Delaware County Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

SEE ALSO: The fate of ‘Deana’s Law’ faces a roadblock; Family fights to pass the law

From that moment on, Deana’s parents, Roseann and Rich DeRosa, vowed to make sure this didn’t happen to anyone else.

“She was always helping someone, so this law will help someone else on her behalf,” Roseann said.

The law aims to lengthen sentences by requiring someone convicted of a third DUI offense to serve consecutive sentences on separate counts, rather than serving the sentences concurrently.
The law also increases the offense rating – and the possible length of the sentence – for someone convicted of a fourth DUI if they are caught with drugs or have a high blood alcohol content.

“It helps all of our children. This helps all of our loved ones, and you can go to bed better knowing that this law will make your children safer,” said Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Quinn.

“I’m relieved…we can rest a bit now until the next phase begins. She’s still doing things to prevent drunk driving now, even though she’s no longer here,” added Rich DeRosa.

Deana’s law goes into effect in 120 days.

Meanwhile, her parents will continue to fight for more changes that will keep people safe on the streets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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