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UPPER CHICHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — A community is remembering a woman who was killed by a driver police say was drunk behind the wheel, for the sixth time. Eyewitness News learned new DUI laws are in placed which are designed to keep repeat offenders off the road.
The crash killed an innocent woman and seriously hurt her husband.
Investigators say David Strowhouer was driving under the influence when he lost control of his Dodge Ram pickup truck, crossed over the double yellow line and struck a Subaru head-on. The crash happened on the 3300 block of Market Street at the CSX Bridge, just after 9 p.m.
He had five prior DUIs and he was driving on a suspended license.
“It’s tragic,” said Fabian Lima.
Criminal Defense Attorney Fabian Lima says new state law is designed to be even tougher on criminal drunk drivers – starting at the beginning of 2019.
Anyone nabbed with four or more DUIs would face felony charges.
“Before the law took effect, after your third DUI, it was only punishable as a first degree misdemeanor,” said Lima.
Court records show Strowhouer was sentenced for driving under the influence in 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2017 – years prior to this new law going into effect.
“It’s not that he wouldn’t have had jail time, he would have had jail time after his second offense,” said Lima. “The penalties just weren’t that harsh.”
That’s no consolation to victim Deana Eckman’s family and friends.
The owner of the salon where she worked shared these photos with Eyewitness News saying Eckman was a kind friend who will be sorely missed.
She added these stronger laws should have been in place years ago.
“It’s just one of those situations where the best written laws can unfortunately be subverted by individuals who act in flagrant violation of that, and now at least the judges can increase the penalties in such repeat violator situations,” said Lima.
As for the driver of the pickup truck, a judge denied him bond and he’s currently behind bars.