Gov. Bill Haslam Tuesday signed the measure dubbed “Amelia’s Law” for Amelia Keown, 16, who was killed in an August 2012 crash on Highway 411.
The other driver who was also killed, John Perkins, had drugs in his system at the time. Perkins had been let out of prison early after serving four years of a 12 year sentence.
Since the tragedy Amelia’s family has been urging lawmakers to tighten up the parole rules for convicted felons.
Amelia Koewn’s family members say Tuesday’s ceremony was bittersweet. They say while it’s too late to save Amelia, they’re hoping this new law could save other families from having to endure the same heartache. They say they now want to make sure the law will be fully enforced.
“It’s not moving on, but moving forward,” said Amelia’s mother, Amanda Moore.
Loved ones of Amelia Keown joined Gov. Bill Haslam Tuesday as he signed the law named after the Maryville junior.
“She should have graduated a few weeks ago, so it wasn’t exactly the stage we wanted to go on,” said Moore
Amelia had been on her way home from school to pick up her pom poms for dance practice when Perkins hit her on Highway 411. Both died from the wreck.
“We miss Amelia so much because when it happened, that old saying there’s a big hole in the world, well there’s a hole and it will never go away,” said Amelia’s grandfather Wayne Keown.
Perkins was on meth and other prescription drugs at the time of the crash. Perkins was out on parole after serving a quarter of his time for armed robbery. Amelia’s Law calls for a transdermal monitoring device for parolees whose crimes involve drugs or alcohol. It would test the persons blood every 30 minutes.
“Hopefully we can save another family or save a life,” said Keown.
“It closes what I feel like I had to do for her so to be able to move forward with my life,” said Moore.
The district attorney general, parole board or the courts will decide who will have to wear those blood monitoring devices. The law goes into effect next month.