Momentum growing for law named for SR-67 crash victim Bridgette Hale

Law would require blood draws after fatal crashes

RAMONA, Calif. - A family who said weak state laws cost them a chance at justice is applauding a new development -- nearly three years after a new mother was killed in a wrong-way crash.

10News confirmed that new federal recommendations could help the family of Bridgette Hale in their push for a new state law.

In January 2010, Hale was traveling on state Route 67 when her van was crushed by a car that drifted into oncoming traffic.

Family members of the 36-year-old Ramona resident said they never got their justice, but Hale's friend now believes her death may help save other lives.

John Holsheimer, the driver of the car that struck Hale's van, claimed he fell asleep. While the family said at least four witnesses described reckless driving, the California Highway Patrol contends they didn't notice any obvious signs of intoxication.

A blood draw was never done, but Hale's family said the hospital did conduct one and found large amounts of marijuana and amphetamines, but the test wasn't conducted by law enforcement and wasn't admissible in court.

Holsheimer was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and spent only 30 days in jail.

"That was the ultimate injustice; salt was poured on their wounds," said family friend Sophie O'Connor.

For more than two years, Hale's family, including brother-in-law Ken Vanek, have been writing state and federal lawmakers in hopes of passing Bridgette's Law, which mandates blood draws for fatal crashes

Similar laws are in place in a handful of states.

Then, a few days ago, the National Transportation Safety Board released a series of recommendations, including more drug testing and data collecting after accidents.

Hale's family hopes it will pressure state lawmakers into a passing a law.

"I think California needs to embrace those recommendations and get serious about protecting lives," said Vanek.

10News contacted the office of Assemblyman Brian Jones out of the Ramona area. Sources told 10News a meeting has been planned with the Hale family.

In March, Holsheimer was arrested in a national sweep involving identity theft. He's now facing several years in prison.

10News' media partner East County Magazine has more coverage of this story here: http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/11793
 

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