Bill requiring blood tests for drivers who hit pedestrians on Abbott’s desk

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KXII) - A Texas House bill that would require any driver that injures or kills a pedestrian to automatically have their blood screened for alcohol or drugs in their system now sits on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk.

John Palmer has been advocating for Texas House Bill 558 since the legislative session kicked off.

His wife, Katie Palmer, a Denison school teacher, was hit and killed by Cory Foster last April. At the scene a trooper noted the odor of alcohol on Foster’s breath when he got to the scene, but Foster’s blood was never tested.

A grand jury declined to indict Foster so he never faced any charges for Katie’s death.

“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” said Katie’s mother, Rhonda Nail. “We can change things. Katie’s name will be known from now on as what can be done if people believe in it.”

Nail spoke before lawmakers in Austin about why this bill would have changed everything for her family.

She says she couldn’t believe it was legal that Foster’s blood wasn’t taken after the crash that killed her daughter and when she reiterated the fact to lawmakers “they had the same reaction we did seven weeks after Katie was killed.”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 4 on Tuesday. If signed into law, it would not apply to Katie’s case, however, Katie’s husband, John Palmer said he has continued to advocate for its passage so “no other family has to go through what we did.”

“This law will not help my family, and it’s not going to help the Carney’s but it could help the next family,” Palmer said. “If there was an act that occurred like what happened with my wife and I, a reckless, dangerous act where alcohol was a contributing factor that person’s going to be held accountable.”

If House Bill 558 is signed into law by Abbott it would not go into effect until September.

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