MARYVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee General Assembly is nearing a vote on Amelia’s Law, named in memory of Amelia Keown. The Maryville teenager was killed in a car wreck by a prison parolee in August 2012.
While there have been setbacks for Amelia’s mother about getting the bill passed, she says she’s never given up hope.
Amelia Keown will not be forgotten. The vivacious 16-year-old’s memory will live on in a bill that will bear her name.
Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives are expected Thursday to approve Amelia’s Law.
“This will directly save lives in the way she was killed. So it is a perfect match for her case. So I’m very happy with this bill,” said Amanda Moore, Amelia’s mother.
“This Thursday, we will be voting on the bill. My intent is to offer the amendment to make it Amelia’s Law,” said State Rep. Bob Ramsey.
Amelia had been on her way home from school on August 14, 2012 to pick up her pom poms for dance practice when she was hit and killed by John Perkins who also died.
Perkins had been out on parole after serving a quarter of his time for aggravated armed robbery.
“He just hit her, hit her head on and killed her instantly,” said Wayne Keown, Amelia’s grandfather.
You may know him on the WWE circuit as wrestling personality Zeb Colter.
Amelia’s family has learned Perkins was high on drugs the day he killed the high school junior.
“This was his fifth wreck in nine months,” said Moore.
Moore and her father met with State Sen. Doug Overbey in October 2012, hoping a “truth in sentencing” type bill bearing Amelia’s name could get through the legislature in 2013.
They also took their crusade to Nashville where Keown and Moore met with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
As senate leader, he guides legislation, but Amelia’s Law failed to pass last year.
This year, Rep. Bob Ramsey is confident Amelia’sLlaw will be approved by both legislative bodies.
The law will call for a device called a transdermal monitor to be worn by parolees. If passed, the law will go into effect July 1.
“From my understanding, when someone is paroled that has a history of drug abuse or their crimes were directly related to drugs or alcohol, they will be required to wear a transdermal device that will blood test them every 30 minutes,” said Moore. “I know this will save other lives.”
“I think there could have been intervention had this device been on the perpetrator of this crime,” said Rep. Ramsey.
Though it’s not exactly what she wanted, Amanda Moore is pleased with the present legislation.
“She will be remembered. She is not just Amelia Keown who died on August 14. She’s a person. She’s not just a statistic. I won’t let her be forgotten,” she said.
The district attorney general, parole board, or court would ultimately decide who wears the device. The bill will apply to people entering pretrial diversion, DUI probation or parole after July 1.
A State Senate vote is expected in March, the same month Amelia would have turned 18 years old.