A group of people who want stiffer penalties for drunk drivers gathered at the Wilson County Courthouse Friday morning to raise awareness and remember 2 young women who were killed by a drunk driver in June. Several people held signs to raise awareness for Nikki's Law, which if passed, would require mandatory sentencing for DUI offenders in remembrance of Nikki Whitley and Aime Sullivan, who were killed by a drunk driver June 6th.
Nikki's mom, Lisa Whitely, says her 22-year-old daughter and Aime Sullivan, who was 25, were walking home from Denny's on Raleigh Road Parkway around 4:00 a.m. on June 6th, when Jimmy Coleman hit and killed them while driving drunk. Coleman accepted a plea deal and is serving 12 -18 years in prison for manslaughter. Whitley says she wants to make sure no one else loses a loved one to drunk driving. She says she'd like "Nikki's Law" to be passed, which would require a mandatory $500 fine and 30 days in jail for first time offenders, meaning a reduced sentence wouldn't be available.
"If you keep slapping people on the wrist, they continue to make the same mistakes, and drinking and driving is not an accident. It is a mistake- a mistake you cause for yourself, and the consequences should be much harsher than what they are now to teach them a lesson," said Whitely.
Whitley says she also wants the law to hold counties responsible for serious injuries or death that result from DUIs, if they don't follow the mandatory sentencing of Nikki's Law. She says she'd like the law to be passed on the local, state, and national levels.