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Family hopes to change penalty in fatal DWI crashes

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Family hopes to change penalty in fatal DWI crashes
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It’s been more than two years since a drunk driving crash took the life of a Broome County man. But a week after the woman responsible for that crash was sentenced to prison, the family of Robert Moorehead III is pushing for changes to the law. Our Elyse Mickalonis sat down with them to talk about what they’re doing to create stiffer penalties for those who drink and drive.

BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- It’s not the kind of pain you forget.

"A normal day for me, I can’t speak for my family, but I know, it’s not normal. I wake up every day thinking my son’s going to come home to me. That’s what keeps me going too,” said Karen Moorehead, Robert Moorehead III's mother.

Now Karen Moorehead says all she has left of her son, Robert Moorehead III, 25, are memories.

Back in 2011, Jaclyn Wesley was drunk when she drove off Route 88 in the Town and Fenton and crashed into the Chenango River, killing Robert Moorehead III, Robert Marshall and Carri Michalski.

Last week Wesley was sentenced to three to nine years in prison for each of three counts of vehicular manslaughter, which will all be served at the same time.

Now, Robert’s family is fighting for harsher penalties.

"They can’t catch them all, but the ones they do catch need to know that you choose to drink and drive, that’s no accident. You chose to do that and you have to be held accountable for that,” said Robert Moorehead, Jr., Robert Moorehead III’s Father.

Earlier this week the family launched a petition on the web site They've already collected more than 150 signatures from all over the country. The family is pushing for the reclassification of vehicular manslaughter to a Class A1 Felony, when alcohol or drugs are involved. That change would bump the maximum sentence to 25 years to life in prison. And, all sentences would be served consecutively instead of at the same time.

"If we do get it pushed, if they do everything that needs to be done, raised the law, be held accountable for each person who passes in an accident it’s still not going to bring him back, but it’s going to give other families the justice that we never got,” said Heather Tucker, Robert Moorehead III's sister.

"I can't even describe how a parent feels, their own child,” said Karen Moorehead. “It's a long road and the hurt never goes away or anything like that. Every day we have to live with this by the choice she made."

The family is also in the process of creating a memorial website in honor of their son.

They say to share his story and drive home the importance of putting down the keys once you’ve had too much to drink.

Last week, Wesley's Defense Attorney filed an appeal and appearance for stay of sentence.

She's set to be back in court Friday, the Mooreheads say they will be there as well.

You can sign the petition, here. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP