Family Petitions For 'Amelia's Law' After Daughter Dies In Wreck
by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee family is fighting to preserve a teenager's legacy while bringing big changes to the state's justice system.
16-year-old Amelia Keown was killed August 14 near Knoxville after she was hit head on by another driver going 75 miles per hour. That driver, John Perkins, had a lengthy criminal history that included multiple traffic violations and several charges of theft, drug possession and delivery, violation of probation, contempt of court, evading police, felony escape and robbery charges.
Keown's mother and grandfather are now trying to get a new law passed that imposes stricter sentences for convicted felons who pose a serious threat to the public. They believe that would have saved Amelia's life.
"If we don't stop this, and take back control of our streets then this is going to happen again and again and again," said Wayne Keown, Amelia's grandfather.
Keown, and Amelia's mother, Amanda Moore, argued that Tennessee's existing "three strikes" law is too vague, and needs to be changed. They propose the new version should be called "Amelia's Law."
"This will honor Amelia," said Keown. "She was a beautiful girl who everyone loved. She had a bright future ahead of her."
The family made their case for the new law to Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey Wednesday. They presented a petition with 6700 signatures of support. They have a meeting scheduled with State Representative Bob Ramsey next week.
"This was not just an accident. This man killed her and nothing will bring her back," said Moore. "I don't want any other family to experience what we're experiencing right now."
Lieutenant Governor Ramsey instructed the family to enlist the help of their state senators and representatives and to be patient. He said the entire process could take two years.
"I've said I will fight until the day I die to make sure this law gets passed," said Moore.