FAMILY wants alleged drunk driver off road

Monday, September 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Sapulpa family says an accused drunk driver got off "Scott free" after totaling their car and sending their teenage boys to the hospital. The wreck happened in April. But nearly 4 months later, the driver hasn't been arrested or charged, in fact, he hasn't received so much as a ticket. News on Six reporter Heather Brooker says the family is beyond frustrated, and they're scared the same thing could happen to another family.

"It's scary because you don't, ya know I never worried about drunk drivers at 2:30 in the afternoon. Never even crossed my mind." Dena Smith was terrified the day she got a phone call saying her boys were in an accident. "When I received that call my heart just sank because it was my 2 kids together." Her 17 year-old, James was taking his brother Travis to class, then he was off to a baseball game. The boys say they noticed the driver of an oncoming truck swerving toward them on a road near the baseball fields. James Smith: "I seen him coming and I tried to veer off and go into the ditch and he just hit me and we spun around like that." The accident report states that the driver of the truck Bonnie Keeling Jr. "had an odor associated with a non-alcoholic beverage which is beer as opposed to liqueur, on his breath and person, the driver stated he had been drinking all day."

And, this wasn't the first time Keeling had been in trouble. The News on Six obtained a copy of his record showing he'd refused to take a breathalyzer test in June of 2000. Keeling lost his license until March of 2001. This accident happened just 3 weeks later. Smith says she's called the Kellyville Police, the Creek County District Attorney and even wrote a letter to the local paper trying to get some action taken against this man. "He was drunk and he passed out. And my kids didn't have anyway of avoiding the accident. And this guys walking around town." Travis received minor injuries from the accident, but says it could have been worse. Travis Smith: "If I wouldn't been wearing my seatbelt? I probably would've went through the windshield." Dena Smith says she doesn't know why police haven't arrested Keeling, or charged him with a DUI. But she hopes something is done before another family has to go through this.

KOTV contacted the Kellyville Police Chief and the Creek County District Attorney about the matter. They told us they are planning to file a warrant for Keeling's arrest. But when we checked with the court clerk late Friday afternoon, no warrant had been filed. We also spoke with Bonnie Keeling Jr. Saturday afternoon, he says this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. And that he wasn't drunk just inattentive at the wheel.