Troup County family fighting for change in GA code following fatal accident of mother

Updated: May. 15, 2018 at 6:07 PM EDT
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(Source: Family)
(Source: Family)

TROUP COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 3,000 people die each year in accidents nationally caused by distracted driving.

The top three killers include speed, alcohol, and cellular distractions.

One Troup County Family is fighting for change in Georgia Codes after losing a loved one in a fatal accident, channeling their grief into activism.

"We are just broken, I feel like the world should have stopped turning and grieved her loss with me, and my family. We are all broken," said Jennifer Biles, daughter of the victim.

For the Biles family, their lives took a tragic turn on May 3, 2017.

A head-on collision along Georgia 14 in Troup County resulting in the death of 54- year old Patricia Sams, and severely injuring her daughter and granddaughter.

The other driver, Heather Washburn cited for failure to maintain lane and second-degree homicide by vehicle. Today, Washburn is free on bond, and has yet to serve any prison time.

"You can be as negligent behind the wheel and there's no consequences. The prosecutor has informed me, she can pull the past 15 years of cases like mine, and none of them have resulted in jail time," said Biles.

However, sadly the Bile's story is not uncommon. According to Georgia State Codes, second-degree homicide by vehicle is a misdemeanor offense.

This misdemeanor is punishable by only up to a year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

Biles says this sentence does not equal the loss of a human life.

"My sister at 22 years old at the time will never walk the same again, my daughter still facing surgeries in the future, and my mother lost her life unnecessarily at the hands of someone being negligent," said Biles.

Biles says she is pressing forward in honor of her mother. She's sharing her family's tragic story, planning to fight for change, and hoping this won't happen to anyone else.

"My mama was my biggest supporter, my number one fan, I will never stop fighting for her. I will carry her with me until the day that I die," said Biles.

Biles says she is reaching out to Georgia State Representatives, hoping to have legislation passed and approved.

She hopes to encourage a change in Georgia's laws regarding second-degree vehicular homicide sentences and punishment.

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