Medlin-Freeto Act increases punishment for drunk drivers who kill peace officers

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If Adrian Breedlove is convicted for the death of Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Jamie Givens, his punishment could be enhanced beyond the normal sentence for intoxication manslaughter.

Breedlove’s charge for Saturday’s fatal accident is intoxication manslaughter, "causing the death of a peace officer."

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It's based on the Medlin-Freeto Act that was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Perry ten years ago and named for two North Texas police officers killed in the line of duty by drunk drivers.

Gina Medlin and Karen Freeto Rutherford say they know exactly what the family of Corporal Givens is going through. They've experiences the same loss and have tried to make sure that families aren't forgotten when the case gets to a jury.

When Gina Medlin and Karen Freeto Rutherford heard about the death of Senior Corporal Jamie Givens in Dallas over the weekend, they relived painful memories.

"You get set back a little bit,” Karen said. “And your emotions are like, ‘Wow. This just happened again.’"

“It does bring back a lot,” Gina said. “And then you start thinking about the family."

Both women had husbands who were killed in the line of duty.

Officer Darren Medlin died in 2004 when a drunk driver plowed into the 34-year-old Grapevine officer and Marine veteran.

Officer Dwayne Freeto was killed in December of 2006. He was changing a flat tire for a motorist when his Fort Worth patrol car was hit from behind by a drunk driver and burst into flames.

Both widows fought for and got legislators to pass the Medlin-Freeto Act ten years ago. It imposes stiffer penalties for intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter on a public servant, raising it to up to life in prison.

Breedlove was arrested and charged with Intoxication Manslaughter – causing the death of a peace officer and unlawful carrying of a weapon in the death of Corporal Givens. He would qualify for the tougher penalty under the law.

Gina says the officer's family deserves that.

"It's going to be a tough deal for them because they can make choices of their own,” she said. “And hopefully they'll take the assistance and help that cops can provide for them and the comfort and ask for help."

The law also brings peace to those left behind like 18-year-old Sarah Medlin, whose high school graduation was attended by several police officers in May who were fellow officers and friends of her dad.

"Just to show them I've made it this far. You can too. And help them with their path of grief,” Karen said. “So I like working on that end as well as a sense of purpose and not in vein, just keeping his name alive."

In 2013, Dylan Richards was found guilty of intoxication manslaughter for the death of Waxahachie officer Joshua Williams. It's one of the first cases the Medlin-Freeto act was applied. Richards was sentenced to 55 years in prison.