—Rep. Craig Williams (R-Chester/Delaware), a former federal prosecutor, released the following statement regarding the enactment of House Bill 773
, now Act 59 of 2022
, better known as “Deana’s Law.”
The law was named for Delaware County resident Deana Eckman who was killed in a head-on car collision in Upper Chichester Township by a drunk driver who had five previous DUI convictions. Deana’s Law adjusts the Pennsylvania Criminal Code to change sentencing for habitual DUI offenders from concurrent sentences (serving multiple sentences at the same time) to consecutive sentences (serving each sentence in succession):
“As a former prosecutor, I was grateful for the opportunity to work with colleagues in the House and Senate to memorialize Deana Eckman with a law that will save lives. Serial criminal offenses, like the multiple DUIs that led to Deana’s death, show a disregard for the law that threatens our communities. Consecutive sentencing is a stiff punishment that offers additional
teeth for our prosecutors to use against habitual offenders.
“One of my closest friends, Larry Weathers, was at the scene reaching into the vehicle to hold Deana’s hand as she passed away. It is a memory that will never leave him. Deana’s Law will enshrine her memory and hopefully save someone’s mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, or child in the future.
“Out of respect to Deana, other victims, and their families, I am committed to working with our communities and lawmakers to create an effective path forward, including prosecution and treatment for first-time offenders, so that we can stop the recidivism for substance abuse crimes that put our friends and neighbors in jeopardy.
“I want to also congratulate former State Sen. Tom Killion and Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) for laying the groundwork for this bill during the 2019-2020 session, and Sen. John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester) for joining in our advocacy for this law in our current session. It was a truly bipartisan local effort that led to our passing Deana's Law this year.”
To view Rep. Craig Williams's arguments for Deana's Law on the floor of House of Representatives, click here