In January 2017, Colten Carney, who had autism, was struck and killed by a motorist while walking to work in Royse City.
Soon after the tragedy, his family learned that while Carney’s body was tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol in his system, the motorist involved in the accident was not tested. This is because, currently, Texas law leaves it up to the individual law enforcement officer to decided whether or not to conduct a blood alcohol test on a motorist when they hit a pedestrian.
For the last four years, Colten’s mother, Michelle Carney, and her husband Dwayne have been contacting state representatives, encouraging them to introduce legislation that would require the blood alcohol testing of motorists when they strike a pedestrian, causing serious injury or death.
“It makes no sense to us that they would test our son, but not the man who killed him, even if it was only an accident,” Michelle told the Herald-Banner in 2018. “We don’t know if he was texting, if he was on new prescriptions that affected him adversely, if he was a functioning alcoholic, or anything else. We just don’t know.”
Two weeks ago, the Carneys’ journey entered a new chapter when state Rep. Terry Meza, D-Irving, filed a bill, dubbed “Colten’s Law,” which would, if passed, "empower police officers to detain someone who has hit a pedestrian to test for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their system.
“Anyone who hits a pedestrian in this state causing serious bodily injury or death should not be allowed to leave the scene of that accident without having been tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their body," Meza said in a press conference at the Texas Capitol.
The legislation, officially called House Bill 1287, is supported by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), whose national headquarters is in Meza’s district.