Daughter's memory drives Louisville woman to push for DUI law
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A large, pink cross marks the spot on Hurstbourne Parkway in Highview where Ashley Martinez was killed by a drunk driver. Now her story has helped change Kentucky law.
“I went to the front door, and there was two gentlemen standing there,” said Theresa Martinez as she recalled the day in 2012.
There were two men at her door with a message no parent wants to hear.
“The man that was standing there was the coroner, and he told me that she died at the scene; that she was killed by a drunk driver,” said Martinez.
On April 29, 2012, Martinez' daughter Ashley was hit head-on by a drunk driver and killed. Maynor Gonzalez-Munoz was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
“18 years is never enough time to ever bring my daughter back,” said Martinez.
But the accident drove Martinez to push lawmakers in Frankfort for an ignition interlock law. It requires repeat, and some first-time DUI offenders, to have a breathalyzer device installed in their cars. It prevents the vehicle from starting if the driver has had too much to drink.
“It's supposed to drive down 30% of DUI fatalities and injuries, and we're excited about that, and we're hopeful for that,” said Rosalind Donald of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Lawmakers passed the bill early Wednesday morning in the closing hours of the session. In previous years, it had never even made it to the floor.
“And this year, the bill passed overwhelmingly, and I really do believe that it has to do with volunteers such as Theresa Martinez,” said Donald.
“I would never want anyone to go through this tragedy that I live with every single day,” said Martinez.
Ironically, the law would not have saved Ashley's life. Gonzalez-Munoz did not have a previous drunk driving record. But it is a fitting tribute to Ashley's memory.
“It didn't save any of ours, but we're glad that it can save other people's lives. And in the end that's all that matters is saving people's lives,” said Martinez.
Kentucky is the 25th state to adopt an ignition interlock law.
Gov. Steve Beshear says he will sign the bill. It takes effect in June.
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