BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A St. Francois County mother has successfully lobbied more than 20 states to consider changing their drunk driving laws, and now she’s taking aim at the legal limit for first responders.
“It’s very concerning,” said Cecilia Williams.
That’s how Cecilia Williams describes recent DWI stops involving St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lomar and the police chiefs of Sunset Hills and Hazelwood.
“They failed their cities,” said Williams. “They failed their communities, and they failed their officers.”
One of the most disturbing parts of these incidents, according to Williams, was caught on camera during a DWI stop involving Hazelwood Police Chief Gregg Hall.
“He’s hammered drunk,” an O’Fallon Police Officer is heard telling his supervisor during the stop. “He’s over two.”
Former O’Fallon Police Chief John Neske ultimately gave Hall, who was never charged, a ride home.
“There's not evidence that he was intoxicated in this case,” said Hall’s attorney Travis Noble.
“He should not have been allowed a ride home at all,” said Williams. “That sends the wrong message to their community.”
That’s why Williams believes it’s time for lawmakers in the Show-Me State to step up and pass legislation that would lower the legal BAC for first responders from .08 to .04, similar to what’s expected for drivers with a CDL.
“When you’re in law enforcement you should be held to a higher standard,” said Williams. “The reason I say that is because you know first hand what could happen. You’ve seen crash after crash. You’ve seen families suffer.”
Having lost her own family to a drunk driver this is a fight the St. Francois County grandmother isn’t willing to give up.
“They told me they died in a fiery crash,” said Williams. “Would I fight to change laws to hold these Chiefs and these officers accountable for their actions? I would fight with everything that’s in me.”
There are some local agencies that have lowered the drunk driving threshold.
Ten years ago, St. Louis County Police instituted a similar policy for all officers who take home their squad car.