Bentley’s Law Requiring Child Support to Surviving Children of Parents Killed by a Drunk Driver

Bentley’s Law is an initiative led by Missouri resident Cecilia Williams and named for her grandson, Bentley, whose parents Lacey Newton and Cordell Williams and their 4-month-old son, Cordell Shawn Michael Williams, were killed in an alleged drunk driving crash. First introduced in Missouri, the legislation requires drunk drivers who are convicted of killing of a parent to pay child support to surviving minor children.

Through Cecilia Williams’ tireless advocacy efforts, versions of Bentley’s Law are now being considered in more than a dozen states. Tennessee passed “Ethan’s, Hailey’s, and Bentley’s Law” on  April 20, 2022, which includes the names of the surviving children of Tennessee Police Officer Nicholas Galinger, who was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver.

“MADD supports Bentley’s Law and similar bills that hold drunk driving offenders accountable. Too often, offenders are able to move on with their lives even after killing someone, while victims and survivors are reminded every day of their loss. The idea behind Bentley’s Law is to both provide a sense of justice to victims and survivors and make sure offenders are reminded of the heartbreak they caused by making the choice to drive impaired.”

– MADD National President Alex Otte