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Forum News Service, Published March 18 2014

Tougher drunken driving sentence considered in Minnesota

ST. PAUL - The family of a baby who died in a motor vehicle accident say a bill named after the boy is needed for repeat drunken driving offenders.

Minnesota state Rep. Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, introduced "Drake’s Law" in honor of Drake Bigler, 5-month-old son of Southwest Minnesota State University head men's basketball coach Brad Bigler. The boy was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver in July 2012.

The bill increases the maximum sentence when a criminal vehicular homicide charge comes within 10 years of some types of a previous drunk driving charge.

The maximum sentence would go up from 10 to 15 years.

The driver of the other vehicle in the Bigler accident, Dana Allen Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, was sentenced to 32 months in prison and 16 months of supervised release.

"We understand that people make mistakes, we all make them," the boy's parents, Brad and Heather Bigler, said in a statement. "However, a mistake repeated is no longer a mistake."

Neither Swedzinski's bill nor a similar one in the Senate have been scheduled for hearings, with a Friday deadline approaching to pass it out of one chamber.