Vehicular Homicide Punishment Comes Under Fire

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (AP) -- A wreck that killed a mother earlier this month is raising questions about whether the state's vehicular homicide laws are strict enough for drivers with lengthy DUI records.

In Strawberry Plains on November 10, Roy Wayne Killion Junior crashed into a car driven by Joan Marie Arrington, a mother of two, and she died after being trapped in the wreckage for two hours.

Criminal records reviewed by The Knoxville News Sentinel show Killion hasn't had a license for the past 11 years.

Nevertheless, he wracked up five DUI convictions since March 1996, some of the offenses occurring within days of each other. He is now charged with vehicular homicide.

Even though a death is involved, Tennessee law considers vehicular homicide to be a nonviolent crime. Those convicted of such crimes serve only 30 percent of the sentence before they are eligible for parole.

Arrington's father, Gary Austin, said taking his license away wasn't enough of a punishment.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)