Almost fifteen years ago, the unthinkable happened to Brenda Montgomery of Owasso, Oklahoma: her niece, Lamanda Gillming, and Lamanda’s two children, were killed in a car crash in Texas by a drunk driver. Eight years later, tragedy struck Montgomery again when her son, Aaron Gillming, was also killed by a drunk driver, this time in Missouri, on his way home from a canoeing trip with a friend. He was 28 years old and left behind a five year-old son.
Through her unthinkable grief, Montgomery was able to turn her pain into something positive, and established The Aaron Gillming Foundation, which brings awareness to people in Oklahoma and across the US about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. This foundation also honors victims of drunk driving and provides support to their families and friends through a “Victims Helping Victims” initiative. And, in 2010, Montgomery and The Aaron Gillming Foundation helped to pass Oklahoma House Bill 3240, or The Aaron Gillming Act, which requires that all drivers convicted of DUI’s (Driving Under the Influence) undergo substance abuse treatment for drugs and alcohol. Again, this applies to all drivers convicted of DUI’s in the state of Oklahoma, including first-time offenders. After a court evaluation, the offender can be recommended for mandatory participation in a 10-hour or 24-hour alcohol and substance abuse course or treatment program (or both), and driving privileges, if any, cannot be restored until the program or programs are completed.
This legislation, which went into effect on November 1st, 2010, is a huge win for drivers everywhere, but especially the families of victims of drunk driving across the state. In Aaron Gillming’s case, if a law like this had been put in place years prior, he may still be alive as the driver who took his life had a 21 year history of substance abuse and drunk driving charges. A DUI is sometimes the result of a one-time bad decision, or an indicator of a greater problem for the driver. Whatever the case may be, it is important to know that the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, even for one night, can have catastrophic effects on everyone involved.
If you are looking for representation in your Oklahoma City DUI case, look no further than John Mac Hayes of The JMH Law Firm.