Oklahoma Woman Wants Changes To DUI Laws After Friend Was Killed By Drunk Driver

Thursday, December 5th 2019, 10:30 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

A woman wants to change Oklahoma laws after she said a drunk driver killed one of closest friends. 

Mary Riley is collecting signatures for a petition to make Oklahoma's DUI penalties harsher. She said she wants to get justice, as she and so many others grieve the loss of an innocent life. Mary Riley describes Jennifer Holt as her second mother, and Holt's 5 kids, as her own family too.

"I grew up with her family, her kids were like siblings to me," Riley said. "Jennifer was a big ball of fun."

She said Holt could make anyone belly-laugh and was a ray of light to the people around her.

"She loved her family without ceasing," Riley said. "She showed the love of Jesus everywhere she went."

Last week, Holt's life was cut short.

Broken Arrow police said Hector Hernandez was drunk when he hit Holt head-on near 81st and Garnett and left the scene.

Officers arrested Hernandez, and prosecutors charged him with first degree manslaughter, but he bonded out of the Tulsa County jail this week.

"You're shocked, then the realization sets in. The first few days, the sorrow was unbearable," she said. "But then the anger sets in."

"Manslaughter in the first degree for someone without prior convictions carries a minimum of four years and maximum of life in prison," said Tulsa County First Asst. District Attorney Erik Grayless.

Riley said four years is not enough, and his $50,000 bond was not high enough.

She started a petition on Change.Org to make penalties harsher in Oklahoma and is already close to reaching 1,000 signatures.

"He should not be free, he should not be walking around. Why does he get to go home when Jennifer gets to go home with her 5 kids?" Riley said. 

Riley said she will continue to share Holt's story and will never forget the kindness she showed everyone. 

"She deserves full justice for what happened,” Riley said.

To find the petition, click here.

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