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Friends want stricter DUI penalties after college student killed in crash

Katie Bauer
Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 29, 2021

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Friends want stricter penalties for DUI offenses after a beloved college student was killed.

Middle Tennessee State University senior Katie Bauer had her life all planned out. "The house, the wedding, and then right after the wedding she was like OK babies," said her friend Katelyn Davis.

Nearly three months ago, those dreams were ripped away. Bauer was killed in a crash on the way home from work.

The driver, identified as Jonathan Berretta, was charged with vehicular homicide in Coffee County. He was out on bond following a 2020 driving under the influence arrest in Nashville.

Davis said she'll never get over it. "There’s not really a way to get through it. You go every day just pushing through hoping that each day will get easier, but there’s not really a way to cope with at 22 years old everything was just taken from her," Davis said.

Davis, Emily Thompson, and Gracie Fusting cheered with Bauer at Riverdale High School. "She was so fun, loving, and bright," Fusting said. "She could light up any room with her smile, and she just had a really special way of making everybody feel known and loved by her."

They said she liked making TikTok videos and being goofy. "She loved putting on her cowgirl boots, and we’d go out on that floor and do line dances," Thompson said.

Now that the friends have had some time to reflect, Davis wants stricter penalties for DUI offenses. "It should take more than killing or hurting someone for this to stop,” Davis said.

After the fatal crash, Berretta was taken into custody in Nashville following medical treatment. His bond was revoked.

As they wait for court, Bauer's friends will continue remembering the happy times. "She would want laughter, she would want everyone to get together and see each other, and not dwell on the fact that she’s gone, but to dwell on the fact that we had her for so long," Davis said.

On Thursday in Coffee County, there was a hearing on the vehicular homicide case. The district attorney said in a month there will be another discussion before the preliminary hearing is scheduled or waived.