Gov. Jeff Colyer on Friday signed HB 2439, also known as “Caitlin’s Law,” strengthening penalties for repeat DUI offenders who kill or seriously injure others.
The bill, which passed both legislative chambers unanimously, is named for Caitlin Vogel who was killed in 2016 by a repeat DUI offender driving drunk in Johnson County, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“What happened to Caitlin was a terrible but preventable tragedy and we must do whatever we can as a government to try and prevent such deaths from happening in the future” Gov. Colyer said. “I commend the Vogel family and Ms. [Blair] Gordon for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed to forever honor Caitlin’s memory in hopes that no one else will have to suffer what they have suffered.”
The initial research behind Caitlin’s law is credited to Blair Gordon, Caitlin’s former soccer coach and friend.
Rep. Russell Jennings, R-Lakin, was lead sponsor of the legislation.
“This bill assures those who choose to ignore limitations placed upon their privilege to drive as a result of DUI will feel the full weight of the law for their senseless act,” Jennings said Friday. “We are sending a strong message; don’t do it, the price you pay will be very high if you do.”
The full text of the bill is available at the following link:
The bill reached the governor’s desk on what would have been Caitlin Vogel’s 26th birthday.
Caitlin’s parents, Patti and Kevin Vogel, said they were honored to have their daughter’s name attached to the bill.
“Caitlin’s Law will hold accountable the repeat offenders who have a blatant disregard for the restrictions placed on them for the privilege to continue to drive,” the Vogels said Friday in a joint statement.
“Caitlin’s death at the hands of a drunk driver is a tragedy that is ours to bear for eternity. There will now be significant consequences and significant jail time for those repeat offenders who choose to drink and drive and then injure or kill someone.”