BATON ROUGE, La. (WVUE) -A Louisiana mother of a four year-old girl killed in a car crash applauds a new law she worked so hard to help pass.
The law expands the use of blood tests in injury-causing traffic crashes.
Morgan Grantham says it won’t save a life, but it will offer accountability to those who hurt others when they break traffic laws.
Katie Grantham, nicknamed “Katie Bug” from birth, was a first born who stole her parents’ hearts.
“She was spritely. She was very spunky. She love to read and hunt frogs and dig for worms and she love to pester her brother and she loved her brother,” said her mother Morgan Grantham.
“She was awesome. She was exactly what we needed.”
For four years the Grantham family enjoyed their life together: Morgan, Kirk, Katie and, eventually Gavin. Yet, their lives changed forever the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2017.
It was just Morgan and Katie on their way to a birthday party. They were only a mile from their Benton, Louisiana home.
“A man ran a red light and t-boned us at 58 miles an hour,” Grantham explained. “My daughter suffered catastrophic injuries immediately. It was almost instantaneous.”
Katie survived seven days on a ventilator, but she never regained consciousness. She was four years old when she died.
“My Katie never stood a chance,” said Grantham.
The driver of the truck that hit Morgan and Katie was cited for running a red light. He passed a field sobriety test and, according to law, was not required to submit a blood test.
“Because Katie did not die on scene, he wasn’t drug tested and he was allowed to go home even though she suffered catastrophic injuries immediately and the paramedics there knew that,” Grantham said.
Yet, the consequences of a loophole in the law only became apparent to Grantham when the driver was sentenced.
“From what we understand, there was a deal that was made and he was sentenced to 10 days in jail to be served on the weekends,” said Grantham.
Katie’s family couldn’t believe it. For Morgan, it hardly felt like justice.
“At the accident scene, Katie and I went to a level one trauma center and he went home. And at his sentencing, when he left at sentencing, he also went home, and then I went to a cemetery,” said Grantham.
Morgan suspects the driver who hit her and Katie was on drugs. She admits her daughter would have died regardless of how the law handled the driver, but she insists he should’ve been held accountable. Her story inspired a bill that would require a blood test from drivers who cause injury when they break the law. SB 138, or Katie bug’s Bill, swept through both chambers of the legislature and was signed into law July 19.
Morgan didn't want to have to memorialize her first born this way, or any other, but she says had to do something about what happened to Katie.
“We all loved her very much,” Grantham said.
A representative with Governor John Bel Edwards’ Office says the bill wassigned in memory of Katie because he does not want anyone else to go through what her family has had to endure. He says it closes a loophole that will help ensure people who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are held responsible for their actions.