The Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down a drunken-driving law just months after it cleared the legislature. The court said the law interfered with due process. However, for one family trying to move forward from a deadly DUI crash, it feels like a step backward.
“The girls were Mandy’s life,” said Cory Carson. "She lived for them."
Carson’s wife, Mandy Starkey-Carson, was killed by a drunk driver on New Year’s Eve 2016 along the Kilpatrick Turnpike.
“They were 4 and 9 at the time of the accident,” he said about his two daughters.
Brinley and Bella were in the car with their mother along with 19-year- old Nhu, the family’s former foreign exchange student who was visiting. Nhu also died but the girls survived.
“My youngest, she has vivid memories of the accident,” Carson said. “She remembered flipping. She remembered getting hit. She remembered hearing mom gasp.”
Carson is now a single father, helping his girls, now 5 and 10 years old, cope without their mother.
“One of my big tasks with the girls is to keep them busy, keep them moving forward, if we stop and we dwell on what happened and what we've lost, it’s unbearable.”
Craig Maker, 31, is charged with second degree murder and DUI in connection with the crash. However, court records show he has pleaded guilty to DUI four other times since 2011.
“There really can't be any tolerance for drinking and driving,” Carson said. “Drinking and driving is a conscious decision.”
But a law that would have created a new program for first time DUI offenders and eliminated the appeals process for those trying to keep their licenses after an arrest was shot down by the State Supreme Court. A majority of justices ruled it was unconstitutional.
“I'm disheartened by the Supreme Court's overturning this law, but we should continue to push forward and strive to strengthen the laws.”
Lawmakers say they aren't giving up and plan to take steps to correct the law. As for Maker, his next court appearance is set for January 23.