Harrisburg, PA – Legislation named in memory of DUI homicide victim passed the House of Representatives with a broad, bi-partisan majority.
The author of the bill, Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware), says the bill “Deana’s Law” is named after Deana Eckman of Delaware County who was 45 years old when she was killed three years ago by a drunk driver who is now convicted of six DUIs.
The bill would increase penalties for those convicted of third or subsequent DUIs.
It also would require consecutive sentencing for those offenders. The bill passed the House 168-32. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Press release from Pennsylvania House of Representatives GOP Caucus:
HARRISBURG, PA – Legislation named in memory of DUI homicide victim Deana Eckman of Delaware County passed the House of Representatives today with a broad, bi-partisan majority, said Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware), the author of the bill.
“Deana was 45 years old, vibrant and beloved by a wide circle of friends and family when she was murdered almost three years ago by someone now convicted of six DUIs” said Quinn. “Deana’s Law will better protect Pennsylvanians from the worst of the worst repeat DUI offenders.”
Quinn’s legislation, House Bill 773, is numbered in honor of Deana’s birthday and would increase penalties for those convicted of third or subsequent DUIs. It also would require consecutive sentencing for those offenders. The bill passed the House 168-32. Similar legislation was introduced last legislative session and passed the Senate but fell short of final passage in the House.
Eckman was killed in a head-on collision on Feb. 16, 2019, in Upper Chichester, Delaware County. She was the passenger in a car being driven by her husband, Chris. A truck being driven by David Strowhouer crossed the double yellow line. Deana was pronounced dead at the scene while her husband suffered serious injuries for which he was hospitalized.
Strowhouer, 30 at the time of the crash, had been convicted of DUI five times in the nine years preceding Eckman’s death. He served sentences for his fourth and fifth DUIs concurrently, and Strowhouer’s driver’s license was suspended.
Quinn stressed the importance of the requirements for consecutive sentences included in the bill.
“Had the court imposed consecutive sentences on Deana Eckman’s murder, he would have still been imprisoned the night she was killed. Had Deana’s killer been sentenced consecutively, Deana would be alive today, and perhaps he would have gotten the help he needed while in prison.”
“The criminal justice system failed our family because the driver was given concurrent, rather than consecutive, sentences on his fourth and fifth offenses,” said Roseann DeRosa, mother of Deana Eckman.
“I am grateful to the House of Representatives and Rep. Quinn for their efforts to pay tribute to Deana by making sure no other family endures the tragedy that we have. This bill targets the worst repeat DUI offenders and we urge the Senate to quickly pass this important legislation”
“For almost three years, the DeRosa and Eckman families have lived with the pain of Deana’s death,” said Quinn. “Passage of this legislation named in memory of Deana will better ensure no family endures the pain they have experienced.
“I am grateful to my House colleagues for support of this legislation and look forward to working with the Senate to better protect Pennsylvanians from the worst repeat DUI offenders.”
The bill now goes to the Senate.